Missouri AG urges state to adopt prescription drug monitoring program

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Missouri is the only state that has not implemented a prescription drug monitoring program, and the state's attorney general is urging lawmakers to implement such a program.

"Missourians make up over 1,000 of the 28,000 lives claimed annually by this [opioid] epidemic in the United States," Attorney General Chris Koster wrote in a Medium post. "Over the last decade, emergency room visits for opioid overdoses more than doubled in Missouri. And from 2013 to 2014 alone, Missouri saw a 4 percent increase in opioid overdose deaths."

Lawmakers in the state have butted heads over legislation to implement a PDMP that would create a database outlining controlled substances dispensed to each person in efforts to identify and curb opioid abuse.

Rep. Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston) introduced a bill establishing a PDMP that would permit physicians and pharmacists to view patient prescription history, but Sen. Rob Schaaf (R-St. Joseph) strongly opposes the bill, saying it infringes on the privacy and liberties of citizens who have not committed any crimes, reports St. Louis Dispatch. Sen. Schaaf introduced his own bill that permits prescription tracking, but physicians and pharmacists would not be permitted to view the records; rather, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs would be allowed to see them and alert authorities to suspicious cases.

Other PDMPs, like the I-STOP program in New York and recently signed legislation in Maine, require providers and pharmacies to view the databases prior to electronically prescribing controlled substances.

In his piece, Mr. Koster denounced the political gridlock. "In Missouri, like so many of the issues facing our state, politicians are engaging in obstruction rather than finding real solutions to protect Missouri families," he wrote.

While the state remains immobile over PDMPs, cities, including St. Louis, have been enacting such programs in their city limits.

But one city isn't enough for Mr. Koster.

"It's time for politicians in Jefferson City to go beyond cheap words, and to finally put an end to the obstruction allowing the opioid epidemic to ravage our state unchecked," he wrote.

More articles on PDMP:

Lack of interoperability could derail opioid Rx monitoring efforts, says advocacy group 
Cerner integrates NARxCHECK into EHR to combat prescription drug abuse 
Opioid overdose deaths by state

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