Every state has its own prescription drug database, whose importance lies in keeping track of people having one too many painkillers. Every state, except Missouri.
For the record, Missouri wanted one. The drug problem has spiraled out of control so much that it led one St. Louis physician to call the state “America’s Drugstore.” Barring the way, however, is a group of lawmakers who argue that the database is a violation of personal privacy. So, some pharmacists themselves are taking the monitoring responsibility in their own hands.
It’s a good thing that not all the state’s senators have the same opinion about the proposal. Rep. Kevin Engler (R-Farmington) spearheads the effort to establish the state’s own drug monitoring system through House Bill 1133. The last attempt fell at the Senate level, even when it was unanimously passed by the House. The latest attempt is being led by Rep. Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston).
An initial draft of the bill outlines some details on how the system would operate. Rehder’s version is the same as Engler’s.
• The Department of Health and Senior Services will maintain a program to oversee the prescription and distribution of all Schedule II to Schedule IV drugs.
• Prescription information submitted electronically (if possible) must be kept confidential under the Open Meetings and Records Law.
• Non-personal or general information can be released for research purposes.
• Failure to submit information or submission of incorrect info will result in a $1,000 fine per violation. Unauthorized disclosure of information is a Class-A misdemeanor.
Missouri needs this drug monitoring system. According to the 2013 Status Report on Missouri’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Problems, illicit drug use among adolescents aged 12 to 17 began climbing again in 2009 after dropping to a seven-year low. Illicit drug use among adults aged 18 to 25 are on a gradual rise.
Many drug rehab centers in Missouri that use medication-assisted rehab would be required to comply, should HB 1133 become a law. Buprenorphine, for example, is a drug cleared for treating narcotic addiction under the Drug Addiction Treatment Act, and is a Schedule III drug. When properly used, this drug could do wonders.
To keep close tabs on dispensing, rehab centers like the Midwest Institute for Addiction only administer medication within the facility. It’s the least a reputable Missouri rehabilitation center can do while it awaits the drug monitoring program the state really needs.
(Source: “New push underway for prescription drug monitoring in Missouri,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 24, 2014)