Forty-nine other states have passed legislation to enact a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP), giving their healthcare providers a powerful tool to help reduce the misuse, abuse and diversion of opioid painkillers and other controlled prescription drugs. It's time for Missouri to join them.
Senate Bill 233, and its companion House Bill 347, would create a highly secure and confidential electronic database that allows doctors and pharmacists to track certain controlled prescription drug data. It will help them to ensure quality patient care by preventing dangerous drug interactions. It also will alert them to patients who are "doctor shopping" by going from doctor to doctor for multiple prescriptions to abuse or to gain access to these drugs for resale.
A PDMP doesn't infringe on the legitimate prescribing of a controlled substance by a practitioner. It simply makes it possible to spot a potential problem that deserves a closer look.
Prescription drug abuse is considered an epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The issue is so important that Gil Kerlikowske, who serves as our nations drug czar, came to Missouri in August to urge passage of PDMP legislation. Crackdowns on pill-pushing operations in other states, such as Georgia, where doctors write prescriptions for people with a wide-range of concocted pains and ailments are making Missouri an attractive option.
SB 233 was heard March 7 by the Senate Veterans' Affairs and Health Committee, chaired by Sen. Dan Brown. I urge him and other lake-area lawmakers to support this important legislation. It's time for Missouri lawmakers to take action and to address this critical issue facing our families and our communities.