A bill in the state legislature would allow for the spread of medication disposal kiosks at pharmacies in Missouri.
The Columbia Missourian reports a House committee has heard a proposal from Republican Representative Keith Frederick of Rolla that contains six measures to fight the opioid crisis.
One of them would authorize the Missouri Board of Pharmacy to work with various stakeholders to develop a statewide drug take-back program.
The Missourian reports that Frederick said his bill would allow Walgreens to bring the medication disposal kiosks to its Missouri locations.
Walgreens launched its safe medication disposal kiosks in roughly 500 drugstores in 39 states and Washington, D.C. in February 2016. The program is intended to make the disposal of medications, including opioids, more convenient while helping to reduce the misuse of medications and overdose deaths.
CVS Health announced a plan to address the opioid crisis in September of last year which included expansion of its kiosk effort. The CVS Medication Disposal for Safer Communities Program was enlarged this month to 1,550 kiosks, including 750 additional disposal units in CVS Pharmacies. The CVS effort also includes a policy to limit certain drug prescriptions to seven days.
The Missourian reports a spokesperson for Walgreen’s says that in the next 18 months, the pharmacy chain plans to install an additional 900 kiosks across the country, bringing their total to 1,500 across the United States.
Representative Frederick’s bill would also require the Department of Mental Health to make an information form available that discloses the risks, benefits, and side effects of taking opioid medication, as well as alternative treatments.
It would further require the Department to develop a plan to inform and educate citizens on the risks associated with opioid medications and would allow the department to study the establishment of a regional neonatal abstinence syndrome step-down program.
The bill would also create the “Improved Access to Treatment for Opioid Addictions Program,” (IATOA), which would disseminate information and best practices regarding opioid addiction.
The proposal includes a couple of symbolic provisions. It would designate the years 2018 to 2028 as the “Show-Me Freedom From Opioid Addiction Decade”, and would allow physicians to voluntarily choose to take a pledge developed by the Board of Registration for the Healing Arts stating that the physician will do all he or she can to reduce the harm from improper use or prescription of opioids.
There’s been strong interest in the Missouri Legislature in recent years to address the opioid epidemic on a state level, but efforts to pass legislation to establish a prescription drug monitoring program have failed.
According to an analysis from the non-partisan Committee on Legislative Research Oversight, Representative Frederick’s bill would cost the state $26 million in the next fiscal year.
Missouri lawmakers are currently challenged to balance the state’s budget, which they are constitutionally bound to finalize. Governor Eric Greitens’ budget proposal includes a substantial cut to higher education.
The House Committee on Health and Mental Health has yet to vote on Frederick’s opioid bill.