We continue to believe a prescription drug monitoring program could save lives in Missouri, and we again encourage Missouri lawmakers to approve such a program.
All other states in the nation have such a program, a database that provides physicians and pharmacists with a patients' prescription history so they can intervene with medical help for those who could be struggling with addiction, as the Associated Press recently reported.
For the past few years, PDMP bills have gained traction in the Missouri Legislature, but staunch opponents still exist.
This year, a PDMP measure has passed the House, but it awaits action in the Senate, where members of the Conservative Caucus are prepared to filibuster it.
Opponents generally have cited privacy concerns, while also questioning the effectiveness such a program would have.
Like them, we have a healthy skepticism of government, and we get their concerns. But in this case, we don't believe such fears will materialize. Meanwhile, some of the states that have implemented such a program cite successes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said PDMPs have resulted in reductions of the number of opioids prescribed, as well as in overdose deaths.
Florida, for instance, implemented a PDMP in 2010, and by 2012, the state saw a 50 percent decrease in oxycodone overdose deaths, the CDC reported.
Roughly 85 percent of Missourians are already covered by a monitoring program run by St. Louis County and joined by numerous other counties across the state, the AP reported. But a statewide program, we believe, has the potential to be more effective, if not watered down in legislative compromises.
We've reported on heartbreaking instances of people in our community who have died from opioid overdoses. A PDMP won't prevent all such instances in the future, but we do believe it will save lives.