April 17, 2017: Are there any Prescription Drug Surveillance Programs at the Tennessee Poison Center?

Tennessee Poison Center participates in the nation-wide RADARS System surveillance program (Researched Abuse, Diversion and Addiction related Surveillance). This is a non-profit operation of the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, a division of Denver Health and Hospital Authority. RADARS measures rates of prescription drug use and abuse for specific drug products throughout the United States in an effort to understand the trends of prescription drug abuse and to aid in the development of effective interventions.


The Radars system collects data from seven programs that target diverse populations. Participating programs include:

  • Poison Centers (92% of US population is covered)
  • Drug Diversion Program 
  • Opioid Treatment Program
  • Survey of Key Informants' Patients Program 
  • College Survey Program
  • StreetRx
  • Web Monitoring



The Tennessee Poison Center’s RADARS study is IRB approved; spontaneous calls received at the TPC regarding intentional and unintentional exposure and information calls relating to the prescription drugs of interest are de-identified and submitted weekly to the Radars system. Data is product and geographically specific; drugs included in the study are Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Fentanyl, Buprenorphine, Hydromorphone, Morphine, Oxymorphone, Methadone, Tramadol, Tapentadol, Amphetamines and Methylphenidate.


Radars system data undergoes statistical analysis on a quarterly basis, and rates are calculated based upon population and drug availability. The results are reviewed by members of the scientific advisory board who provide advice regarding the collection and interpretation of data as well as scientific evaluation and recommendations. This data is provided to pharmaceutical manufacturers, regulatory agencies, policymakers and medical and public health officials. Results are also published in peer reviewed journals and presented at scientific conferences.


According to the RADARS survey, Hydrocodone followed by Oxycodone, are the leading prescription opioids used in Tennessee.


 Additional details and scientific literature can found at the RADARS website:



This Question prepared by: Suparna Kumar, MD, CSPI