We hope this year will be the year Missouri lawmakers will implement a statewide prescription drug monitoring program.
Missouri, as we've said before, is the only state in the nation that does not have such a statewide program.
Missouri News Network recently reported state Sen. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, brought a bill before the Committee on Fiscal Oversight that would create a PDMP.
She has repeatedly pushed for a PDMP in her eight years as a member of the state House of Representatives. This is her first term in the Senate, the news organization reported.
PDMP bills previously have passed the House, only to die in the Senate.
This year's bill makes changes that could make the measure more appealing to some who previously opposed it. Rehder's bill would not be a law enforcement tool but would allow doctors and an oversight board to see prescription records of their patients. The goal is to stop opioid abusers from "doctor shopping" — obtaining multiple prescriptions through multiple doctors.
Some opponents in the Missouri Legislature still oppose a PDMP due to privacy concerns, saying it puts Missourians' personal data at risk. We respect that concern. But we continue to believe such fears will not materialize.
As we have said before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said PDMPs have resulted in reductions in the number of opioids prescribed, as well as in overdose deaths. Florida started a PDMP in 2010. By 2012, the state saw a 50 percent decrease in oxycodone overdose deaths, the CDC reported.
Most of the state, about 85 percent, is covered through piecemeal programs in many counties.
One overriding program would cover the entire state and do so in a more effective and consistent manner.
We ask lawmakers to help reduce our state's deadly scourge of opiate abuse by approving a statewide PDMP.