Jefferson County To Debate Prescription Drug Database Bills

Brian Kelly (@brpkelly)

HILLSBORO, Mo. (KMOX) – Jefferson County could take a step toward joining the regional prescription drug database Monday evening, when the County Council takes up not one, but two bills on the topic.

County Executive Ken Waller backs the proposal that would allow the county to join the database spearheaded by St. Louis County as soon as possible.

“Mine is the better bill because it’s just stuff that we’ve done together with St. Louis County,” Waller says. “We’ve gotten with the people that have already done this before and we want to make sure that all the parts of the ordinance are correct and that we follow all the rules.”

Waller says that may not be the case with the competing bill authored by Councilman Bob Boyer.

Boyer tells KMOX his bill contains a more comprehensive plan to battle drug addiction.

It includes seeking funding for the overdose-reversing drug Narcan, studying the effectiveness of substance abuse programs, and working with faith-based groups on anti-addiction programs.

One provision does call for joining the St. Louis County Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), but only if it meets certain provisions, like “making sure doctors look at the prescription data before they write another prescription. Making sure the prescriptions that are sent into the system are opiate-based only. Some basic privacy protections.”

Waller argues that the county should be ready to join the database as soon as possible, and he says Boyer’s bill wouldn’t allow that.

“It doesn’t comply with what St. Louis County is wanting and we do know that, because we sent a copy of his bill to St. Louis County.”

“A PDMP alone won’t solve the addiction problem” Boyer says. “Forty-nine states in the country have done this since the year 2000 and (with few exceptions) we’ve actually seen the number of drug abuse cases rise.

“This is a major policy change. I think any time you have a major policy change, it’s good to really sit down and look at all of the issues with it and come up with a decision. A hasty decision is not a good thing.”

Monday will be just the first of three votes needed to pass one of the bills.

Waller says if Boyer’s version eventually passes, he will likely veto it.

The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. in the Assembly Room of the Jefferson County Administration Center, 729 Maple Street in Hillsboro.

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