A southeast Missouri lawmaker who has championed prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) legislation for years thinks it will “make it over the finish line” in 2019.

State Rep. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, speaks on the Missouri House floor on March 15, 2018 (file photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

State Rep. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, will make the drive from southeast Missouri to Jefferson City on Monday morning to pre-file PDMP legislation. Rehder says she and State Sen.-Elect Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville, will pre-file the same bill on Monday.

“We are really looking forward to getting this passed this year. We have leadership in both houses (Missouri House and Senate) being excited to get it done,” Rehder says.

A PMDP is an electronic database that collects data on controlled substance prescriptions within a state. Missouri is the only state in the nation without a PDMP.

The Missouri House and Senate approved different versions of the bill in 2017, but the Senate version contained a prescriber mandate provision, which the Missouri State Medical Association opposed. The House approved Rehder’s bill by a bipartisan 102-54 vote that year.

Rehder worked on the final day of the 2017 legislative session to come up with a compromise, but ran out of time. She choked-up when she told a Missourinet reporter that day that her bill was dead.

“There’s so many families that just really need this, and, I’m sorry- but, I’m not giving up, I’m a fighter, and I know that we need to get this done,” Rehder said on the final day of the 2017 session.

Rehder told Missourinet Friday afternoon that PDMP legislation is needed because of the toll the opioid epidemic is taking on families.

“When physicians, when your medical professionals don’t have this information about their patients, they’re literally operating with half of the skills that they need,” says Rehder.

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D) and U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Harrisonville, have both called on Missouri lawmakers to approve a PDMP, saying it would help prevent drug-shopping.

Senator McCaskill addressed the issue with Missourinet, after a July 2017 town hall meeting in Ashland. She urged then-Governor Eric Greitens (R) to call a special session for PDMP.

“I’m astounded that we are the only state in the union that has put out a welcome mat for heroin dealers,” McCaskill told Missourinet that evening. “I do not understand it. It is really mind-bending. It is the biggest public health crisis this country has faced in many years.”

Congresswoman Hartzler says the topic came up recently when she met with Walmart pharmacy management and staff in western Missouri’s Butler. Hartzler says there have been several documented cases of individuals from other states visiting Missouri Walmart pharmacies to take advantage of the lack of monitoring in Missouri.

Pre-filing for the 2019 session begins Monday morning in Jefferson City.

Rehder tells Missourinet that House Speaker-designee Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, has always supported PDMP.

“He actually brought it up to me a couple of months ago and said ‘Hey I would really like to get this out of the House early,'” Rehder says. “To of course my excitement, but it’s important to him.”

She also notes that Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, has been a sponsor of PDMP legislation.

Rehder says while about 87 percent of Missouri’s population is currently covered by county PDMP’s, only about 60 to 70 counties have it. She says many small, rural counties that lack PDMP are suffering because of the opioid crisis.

Click here to listen to Missourinet news director Brian Hauswirth’s full interview with State Rep. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, which was recorded on November 30, 2018:

Copyright © 2018 · Missourinet