For Rep. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, the need for a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) in Missouri is a personal issue. Rehder’s daughter has fought an addiction to prescription medication and is now sober, but a network of providers monitoring how many prescriptions she was able to fill could have prevented this addiction from taking hold.
“When you talk to a group of high schoolers and ask them what they want to be when they grow up they say doctors and lawyers and nurses. Not one of them says ‘I want to be a drug addict’,” Rehder testified. “This bill is very personal to me because I had one of those children that at 16 was an honor roll student and was accepted into Saint Louis University’s physical therapy program…after cutting her thumb at work was prescribed Loracet and got to the point where she was taking 30-60 pills per day. Prescription pain pills are legal, and the addiction starts innocently.”
Rehder cited statistics that claim prescription drugs are abused more than cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin and inhalants combined.
In an effort to rein in drug abuse throughout the state, House Bill 130 was introduced in the House Health Insurance Committee.
The act would establish the Prescription Drug Monitoring Act and would change the laws regarding the prescribing and dispensing of controlled substance. The act would require the Department of Health and Senior Services to establish and maintain a program to monitor the prescribing and dispensing of all Schedule II through Schedule IV controlled substances by all licensed professionals who prescribe or dispense these substances in Missouri. The person dispensing the drugs would then be required to electronically submit to the department information for each prescription.
“Missouri is the only state that does not have this program in place,” Brian Bunten, director of legislative services/asst. general counsel for the Missouri Chamber, said. “Forty nine other states have enacted this legislation. If Missouri has a central prescription drug monitoring program, it would block criminals from other states coming to Missouri to fill multiple prescriptions. This program will drive down the costs associated with prescription drug abuse for Missouri’s employers. This is common-sense legislation.”
The act would also require all submitted prescription information to be kept confidential with specified exceptions. The department would then review the information and, if there is reasonable cause to believe a violation of law or breach of professional standards may have occurred, they would then notify law enforcement.
Several business organizations, including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry are members of the Missouri Prescription Drug Monitoring Program NOW Coalition, which is a strong proponent of this legislation. For more information about this legislation, please contact Brian Bunten at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 573-634-3511.