(Reporter Bailey Strohl at Missourinet Springfield affiliate KSGF Radio contributed to this story)
SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- A congressman who represents southwest Missouri on Capitol Hill says a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) is needed in the Show-Me State. U.S. Rep. Billy Long, R-Springfield, discussed the nation’s opioid crisis during a roundtable discussion this morning at Springfield’s Cox Medical Center South.
“No one doesn’t know someone that’s affected by it. I mean, it’s a scourge,” Long tells roundtable participants. “And so, that’s why we try and have get-togethers like this and find out what works and what doesn’t work.”
Congressman Long says the opioid crisis is killing people across the nation everyday.
“It’s killing 130 people a day in this country, I mean when I was growing up here in Springfield I never went home and my folks said so-and-so’s kid down the block died today,” says Long.
Cox officials are touting their new program that gives assistance and treatment to addicts who want to get clean. Cox officials also emphasize the need for a supervised short stay center to free up emergency rooms.
Congressman Long met with health care professionals today, including nurses. He toured Cox South’s neonatal intensive care unit to see how CoxHealth is treating babies who have a condition called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, a condition caused by mothers who are addicted to opioids while pregnant.
“It is truly devastating to see the impact opioid addiction is having in our community. Touring the neonatal intensive care unit and seeing babies affected by opioid addiction is heart-wrenching,” Long says.
Congressman Long notes that President Donald Trump has signed legislation into law called the SUPPORT the Patients and Communities Act, which establishes grants to combat the opioid epidemic.
He says CoxHealth has been awarded a $790,000 federal grant to expand rural telemedicine services such as substance abuse counseling and mental health treatment.
Cox South is located on what’s known as Springfield’s “Medical Mile.”
Long supports a statewide PDMP, which is an electronic database that collects data on controlled substance prescriptions within a state. Long notes 49 other states have it, and that Missouri is the only state in the nation without a PDMP.
“It’s an anomaly that we don’t have it,” says Long.
The Missouri House approved PDMP during the 2019 session, but the measure died in the Senate due to opposition from the Senate Conservative Caucus.
PDMP sponsor State Rep. Holly Rehder, R-Scott City, tells Missourinet she intends to file the legislation again in January.
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