SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Missouri has been the only state without a prescription drug monitoring program known as PDMP. Several counties do have one, but nothing statewide to track people taking advantage of the system.
State lawmakers have discussed it for years, and the Missouri Legislature has finally passed a bill approving a PDMP.
“While there are indications for narcotic pain medications, there are certainly dangers associated with it,” said Dr. Howard Jarvis, with CoxHealth.
Dr. Javis is on the front lines in the war against the opioid pandemic at CoxHealth.
“In the state of Missouri, it is fairly typical for about a thousand people a year to die from an opioid overdose,” said Dr. Javis.
Opioid abuse isn’t isolated to just Missouri, but it is the only state without a PDMP. Luckily, the Missouri Legislature has passed a bill approving a PDMP.
“I’m really excited,” said Dr. Jarvis. “This is a good day for Missouri.”
“Yes, we are the last state to do it in the United States, but we got there, and I look forward to this legislation and hopefully see the positive impacts that come from it, ” said Besty Fogle, state representative.
Without a PDMP, it’s quite easy for someone to play the system.
For example, a person with a drug issue will visit doctor number one and get a prescription for a narcotic. That person can then go to doctor number two to get a prescription and then to doctor number three. That person will continue with this pattern to stock up on pills. However, a PDMP would help doctors and pharmacists track this pattern.
“If someone does have potentially a problem with narcotics, it is an opportunity for physicians to have a talk with them and hopefully get them some help or into a treatment program,” said Dr. Jarvis.
The program would also allow better accountability among doctors to see who is doing the prescribing and help the patients who legitimately need these medications.
“It is not a fix-all,” said Fogle. “We all know it can be a very long road to recovery, but this one tool we can put in the toolbelt of our medical providers.”
Some who opposed the bill were concerned about patient privacy, but supporters say it is no different than your doctor already having access to your medical records. If signed into law, a patient’s information can be kept in the database for up to three years.