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Search Strategy

Based on discussions with experts in the field, CDC identified seven state legislative strategies that have potential to impact prescription drug misuse, abuse and overdose. State prescription drug monitoring programs were not included because they are catalogued elsewhere (Alliance of States with Prescription Monitoring Programs).

In July and August 2010, CDC used Westlaw®, a legal reference database, to collect current statutes and regulations related to the seven strategies in the states or the District of Columbia. CDC used states’ official web sites to locate some pertinent provisions. Literature that has not been published commercially was searched using Google and Google Scholar to identify conference proceedings, academic presentations, Congressional testimonials, web sites, and other sources with pertinent information. Internet sources used included web sites for the Drug Enforcement Administration, CDC, Alliance of States with Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, National Association of State Controlled Substances Agencies, National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs. This free-text search strategy included colloquial phrases such as “doctor shopping” and “pill mills” to ensure that references to laws in the popular press were captured. To confirm the sensitivity of the search strategy, the bibliographies of all retrieved articles were also reviewed.

To determine the best way to define each strategy, CDC initially compiled a sample of laws related to each strategy. CDC identified common features from each statute or regulation for each strategy and combined these features to form definitions for each type of law researched. The definitions should be viewed as the most common formulations of existing law rather than as model laws.

CDC wishes to thank the National Association of State Controlled Substances Agencies for their assistance in reviewing information found on this resource.

Please note that the effectiveness of these seven types of laws has not been evaluated by CDC. CDC's survey of these laws is intended to provide a picture of the legal and regulatory environment surrounding this important public health problem, not to evaluate or judge the effectiveness of each state's approach to this epidemic.

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