Debate Continues Over Prescription Drug Database

JEFFERSON CITY, MO. (KMOX) – The Missouri House did not agree with Senate amendments to a prescription drug monitoring program, including checking for only opioids and purging data after half a year.

The bill’s sponsor, representative Holly Rehder, says the Senate version would not stop Missourians addicted to prescription drugs from relapsing.

“When you’re looking at addiction, your first two years you have more relapses, and once you get past that two year mark, you’re doing pretty good,” she says.

Opponents say the program has not been successful in other states and will harm the privacy of Missourians. Lake St. Louis representative Justin Hill says the Senate’s version is the best balance of protecting privacy and working to curb opioid addiction.

“At least people who don’t abuse drugs would have the ability or the comfort of knowing that their information isn’t kept in perpetuity,” he says.

The Senate passed a prescription drug monitoring program after over three hours of debate last week. A conference committee is expected to debate the measure before it returns to both legislative bodies.

St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann says he’s glad the Missouri legislature is finally close to passing a statewide prescription drug database, bu is concerned about the way it may go about it.

Ehlmann is hoping the state doesn’t decide to start over, but instead builds on the progress made by the city of St. Louis and St. Louis and St. Charles Counties over the last year and a half. The city and two counties are close to rolling out their own database.

“We need to get this up and running, we’re very close to doing that. I think it would be great if the rest of the state would just join us and we could move on and get this thing set up,” he says.

Ehlmann says he also hopes the state doesn’t go along with the proposal to only keep the records for six months at a time. He says law enforcers tell him that’s not nearly long enough.

“You need to have a longer history of someone’s abuse of painkillers before you can really make some decisions about whether they are violating the law or not,” he says.

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