We commend Gov. Eric Greitens for starting a prescriptions drug monitoring plan through executive order. His action does something the Legislature hasn't had the political will to do for years, despite the fact the Show-Me State has been the only one in the nation without one.
Greitens' action removes that stigma, but it's only a start.
Some Missouri lawmakers already have said the order doesn't go far enough because it focuses on overprescribing doctors rather than doctor-shopping patients, which is the biggest problem.
The Associated Press reports Greitens' plan won't allow doctors to see if a patient has already been prescribed an opioid before writing a new prescription. His plan, on the other hand, will focus on analyzing prescription and dispensing data to target what he described as "pill mills" that pump out prescription drugs at "dangerous and unlawful levels," the AP reported.
Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, told the AP his long-term goal is to pass a statewide program similar to the bill he handled in the Senate this year.
"What this tool ultimately boils down to is to allow doctors to make informed decisions when prescribing," he said of his bill.
That would require doctors the have access to a database to determine whether a patient already has a prescription for opioids.
One House Democrat called Greitens' action a "publicity stunt." Call it what you want, but it's a step in the right direction.
Fortunately, many counties, including Cole, haven't been idle during the last few years of legislative inaction on the issue. More than two dozen counties covering 58 percent of the state's population have implemented their own monitoring program, the AP reported.
While Greitens' executive order isn't a true prescription drug monitoring program, it does move the needle forward. We hope it keeps the need for such a program in the spotlight, and we hope the Legislature brings the issue to the forefront of discussion when the 2018 General Assembly opens in January.