A Missouri lawmaker who has pre-filed a prescription drug monitoring program bill expects a fellow Republican to try to filibuster her bill.
State Rep. Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston) says Missouri forces its physicians to be investigators, because the state doesn’t have a program to monitor how many prescriptions people are having refilled. She’s proposing a measure that would require such a system to be created, to look for cases of drug abuse. Rehder expects a fellow Republican, State Sen. Rob Schaaf (R-St. Joseph) to try to block her bill.
“He does not feel that physicians and pharmacists should be able to have their patients’ narcotic information,” Rehder says. “I feel that, absolutely, our medical professionals should know what medications we are taking.”
Missouri is the only state in the nation without a prescription drug monitoring program.
Senator Schaaf says Rehder’s bill doesn’t protect people’s privacy. Rehder says all other states have passed similar legislation.
“There haven’t been problems. California started a prescription drug monitoring program in 1939 so if this was so awful, we would have states backing out of it,” says Rehder.
Schaaf tweeted at Missourinet last week, noting that he has filed the same PDMP bill approved by the Missouri Senate in 2015. Schaaf added that “it’s a shame Rehder refuses to compromise.”
Rehder tells Missourinet that half of Missouri’s population will fall under such a system in January. Several Missouri counties and jurisdictions will begin their own prescription drug monitoring programs next month, including St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Jackson County and St. Genevieve County.
Rehder also says 75 percent of prisoners had substance abuse issues, before being incarcerated. She says her bill could be used to intervene in the early stages of prescription drug abuse.
“Last year alone, we had over 6,000 children removed from substance abuse homes. That’s huge, and that’s huge on Missouri taxpayers as well, not to mention all that those babies have gone through,” Rehder says.
A PDMP is an electronic database that collects data on controlled substance prescriptions within a state.
The 2017 Missouri Legislative session begins on Wednesday, January 4 at noon.