State Rep. Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston) will pre-file a bill in December that would create a program to monitor how many prescription drugs people are having refilled, to look for cases of abuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose deaths from opioids, like morphine and oxycodone, have nearly quadrupled since 1999.
Rehder, a Republican, says Missouri is the only state in the country without a prescription drug monitoring program. She says developing such a system is a nonpartisan issue.
“But we absolutely have those in Missouri who try to make it a partisan issue, and so then you have people afraid to vote,” Rehder says.
Veteran State Sen. Rob Schaaf (R-St. Joseph), who is a family physician, threatened to block Rehder’s legislation this year. After citing privacy concerns, he filed his own bill. Schaaf’s office tells Missourinet he’ll file similar legislation again for next year’s session.
“Those arguing against it want to continue talking about that it’s a breach of privacy, yet all of these other states have been able to do this and secure medical information, just as we do with electronic medical data,” says Rehder.
Rehder says “the temperature in Missouri is for a prescription drug monitoring program.” She notes St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County will begin their own programs on January 1.
The Missouri House approved Rehder’s bill this year by an 87 to 66 vote, but it ran into a threatened Senate filibuster from Schaaf because of his privacy concerns. Schaaf’s bill was heard in a Senate committee this year, but never made it to the Senate floor for a vote.