Missouri has become the 50th and final state to have a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP), with the governor’s signature Monday afternoon in Jefferson City.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson signs landmark PDMP legislation into law on June 7, 2021 in Jefferson City. State Sen. Holly Rehder (R-Scott City) and Rep. Travis Smith (R-Twin Bridges) observe (photo courtesy of the governor’s Flickr page)

Governor Mike Parson (R) signed the bipartisan PDMP bill into law in his Statehouse office, where he was joined by bill sponsors State Sen. Holly Rehder (R-Scott City) and State Rep. Travis Smith (R-Twin Bridges).

Senator Rehder, who filed PDMP for nine straight years, describes it as a tool for Missouri’s medical professionals to be able to see what their patients’ medication history is.

“And that prevents difficult combinations that shouldn’t be given together. It prevents a lot of mistakes, but it also produces much better outcomes when people are fighting the opioid epidemic,” Rehder says.

The issue is personal for Senator Rehder, who publicly revealed on the Missouri House floor in 2020 that her late mother and late sister were both sexually assaulted multiple times, and turned to prescription drugs for their pain.

During the bill-signing ceremony, Rehder emphasized that the issue is and has been bipartisan. She praises State Rep. Tracy McCreery (D-Olivette) for pushing PDMP, and thanked former State Rep. and former State Sen. Kevin Engler (R-Farmington) for filing it for several years as well.

Governor Parson has made passage of PDMP a top priority. He says it will empower health care professionals to make decisions that better serve their patients and assist in battling Missouri’s opioid epidemic.

PDMP is also a top priority for Missouri Farm Bureau, which is the state’s largest general farm organization. Farm Bureau describes PDMP as a valuable tool in the fight against the opioid epidemic. They commend Senator Rehder “for being steadfast in carrying that legislation.”

Parson, Rehder and Smith were joined at Monday’s bill-signing ceremony by Missourians who’ve lost loved ones to the opioid epidemic.

“This is just another tool that we’re going to be able to use to help us fight when it comes to opioid, when it comes to the law enforcement community, when it comes to the medical community, of how do we do it better,” Governor Parson tells the families.

A PDMP is an electronic database that collects data on controlled substance prescriptions within a state. The law signed by the governor (Senate Bill 63) will establish the Joint Oversight Task Force of Prescription Drug Monitoring within the state Office of Administration (OA).

While Senator Rehder has generated most of the press coverage for PDMP, State Rep. Travis Smith has received little media coverage. He represents a rural district along the Missouri-Arkansas border, and says the opioid epidemic has hit rural Missouri hard.

Representative Smith filed and passed PDMP in his first year in Jefferson City.

“Every pharmacist, every doctor (that) I talked to said this is very important. The one thing that doctors added was please don’t make it a mandate, we’ve got enough paperwork to do. And so we did that up here (Jefferson City) too,” says Smith.

Smith, who serves on the Ozarks Healthcare Board, emphasizes that PDMP is a bipartisan issue. He gives credit to Senator Rehder for her persistence in the nine years she filed it.

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