Missouri is the only state that doesn’t utilize a prescription drug monitoring program. However, this may soon change.
Missouri State Representative Holly Rehder is sponsoring a bill to establish a prescription drug monitoring program in Missouri. The U.S. Senate has recently passed a bill to establish a prescription drug monitoring program in Missouri and the measure now goes to the House.
What is does
The prescription drug monitoring databases track prescriptions for controlled medications to prevent patients from “doctor shopping” when addicts visit multiple doctors to obtain several prescriptions and fill them at the same time. Scott Collier of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s St. Louis division notes that Missouri has “become an attractive marketplace for those who are seeking to get drugs” due to the ineffectiveness of the state’s laws on obtaining prescriptions. This has left pharmacists and the state’s law enforcement encouraging the use of a monitoring program. This is the third year that Rehder has attempted to get this bill passed and legislation has blocked all of her previous attempts over the Senate’s concerns regarding privacy issues with the information being stored in the program’s database.
How effective is it?
According to data from the study Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Stop the Epidemic by the Trust for America’s Health, Missouri has the seventh highest drug overdose rate in the country, most of which results from prescription drug abuse. The state has also witnessed a 300 percent increase in the drug overdose death rate between the years of 1999 and 2010. The prescription drug monitoring program has proven to be very effective in treating the dramatic increase in prescription drug abuse so far in some states. In 2012, the state of New York started requiring prescribers to check the state’s central database before prescribing any painkillers and in 2013 the state saw a 75 percent decrease in doctor shopping. Recently, Florida has seen a 25 percent decrease in oxycodone-related overdose deaths since its implementation of the prescription drug monitoring program.
How Missouri’s program would differ
Missouri’s proposed law would be different from those of other states. In most states, doctors and pharmacists can check the prescription drug monitoring database directly, but Missouri’s legislation would restrict access just to the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services. Also, pain management physicians will be required to send the state prescription information for controlled substances with the use of encrypted messages.
Prescription drug addiction is the largest drug epidemic in the country and for those still suffering, there is still hope. Sovereign Health Group is among the leading drug addiction treatment centers in the country and offers various inpatient and outpatient treatment options for patients who are struggling with drug addiction, mental health disorders and dual diagnosis. If you know someone who is struggling with drug addiction and is in need of treatment, please contact us over the phone at anytime. One of our treatment specialists will assist you in finding the right treatment program for you.
Written by Sovereign Health Group writer Benjamin Creekmore