Prescription Drugs

Colorado Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

Colorado is one of a handful of states with a state-wide prescription drug monitoring program designed to allow prescribers to access information and identify an individual that they may have concerns about. Retail dispensers (not individual prescribers) of medications are required to upload information to a state database on a monthly basis. The information is cross referenced by Name, Address, Phone Number, Date of Birth, Social Security Number, etc. to allow identification of individuals who may be “Doc shopping” in order to obtain multiple prescriptions for drugs.

While veterinarians are not required to report anything, they can use PDMP (for example) when they have potential suspicions or concerns that a client may be seeking prescription medications for a pet on a more frequent basis than needed for the pet, thus potentially diverting the medication to some other use. Being able to access the database to see other medications that have been prescribed to this individual can either allay or reinforce the suspicions held by the veterinarian and thus shape an appropriate response to the medication request.

Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) Website
The website was created to complement other websites focused on Colorado’s prescription drug use and abuse epidemic, as well as other statewide efforts at the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). The website centralizes key regulatory information, and is a resource for providers and consumers when they have questions about the PDMP. You may contact the PDMP staff at 303.894.5957 or

Updated Veterinary Opioid Prescribing and Dispensing Policy
On December 14, 2017, the State Board of Veterinary Medicine updated the veterinary opioid policy for the prescribing and dispensing of opioids to reflect changes from SB 17-146 Access to Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which was signed into law on April 6, 2017. This policy was adopted in an effort to provide guidelines and to assist prescribing veterinarians. The Board believes that opioid use in a veterinary practice setting requires a unique policy that provides meaningful guidance to veterinarians who treat a wide variety of animals in Colorado. However, Colorado veterinarians may use an alternative approach if the approach satisfies the requirements of the applicable statutes, regulations, and standard of care.

OF NOTE: Veterinarians are unique in their prescribing because they may also be dispensing the prescribed medication. If prescribing a controlled substance using their DEA number, veterinarians are required to register and maintain an account with the Colorado PDMP. It is not required, however, to report dispensing details. If a veterinarian does not have a DEA number, there is no need to report.

Download the updated Veterinary Opioid Prescribing and Dispensing Policy.

New State Law Improves Access to PDMP

To make the PDMP more accessible and easier for health professionals to incorporate into daily use, the Colorado General Assembly passed legislation in 2017. On April 6, 2017, Governor John Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 17-146 Access To Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which clarifies health professionals’ access to the PDMP database by:

  • Allowing a health care provider with prescribing authority to query the PDMP about a current patient, including checking on drug interactions and side effects, thus making the PDMP an even more useful tool for health professionals in their clinical decision-making for patients;
  • Allowing a veterinarian with prescribing authority to query the PDMP about a current client if the veterinarian has a reasonable basis to suspect the client has committed drug abuse or has mistreated an animal; and
  • Allowing a pharmacist to query the PDMP about a current patient for whom the pharmacist is dispensing any prescription drug, rather than only patients receiving controlled substances.


FAQs: Veterinary Prescriptions and Pharmacies

The AVMA receives many questions from pet owners and veterinarians about veterinary prescriptions and pharmacies. To help answer these questions, the AVMA has developed an FAQ on the subject, addressing such issues as why prescriptions are needed, and where pet owners can get their prescriptions filled.