Prescription Drug Monitoring Program May Curb State Drug Abuse

3 years 7 months 3 weeks ago November 29, 2012 Nov 29, 2012 Thursday, November 29 2012 Thursday, November 29, 2012 11:17:00 AM CST in News
By: Garrett Bergquist

COLUMBIA - As supporters of prescription monitoring gear up for another attempt to create such a program this spring, KOMU 8 News looked at whether a prescription drug monitoring program would work in Missouri.

Prescription drug monitoring programs, variously referred to as PDMPs or PMPs, act as a central electronic clearinghouse for all prescriptions written in a state. The programs are intended to help curb the explosion in prescription drug abuse that has occurred in the last decade. Every state except Missouri has such a program in place or is in the process of setting one up. During the 2012 legislative session, a Republican-led bill authorizing a PDMP gained tremendous support from both parties. The bill passed the house of representatives overwhelmingly only to die in the senate after a filibuster by a small group of senators led by Sen. Robert Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, the only practicing physician in the chamber. Schaaf said at the time he would fight prescription monitoring if the issue came up again. He told KOMU 8 News in November that his objection to the practice centers around civil liberties. He said the state should not have a database with someone's private medical information.

Supporters of prescription monitoring acknowledge Schaaf's concerns. Jerry Eames, a licensed clinical addictions counselor, said Schaaf is correct in worrying how such a database is used. However, Eames said the benefits outweigh the risks "immensely."

"It would stop a flow from the pharmacy to the street, maybe a full third of these chemicals would stop hitting the streets," Eames said.

Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem in Missouri. The 2010 Missouri Student Survey, compiled by the Department of Mental Health, found 11 percent of Missourians in the sixth through twelfth grades had used prescription drugs outside of a doctor's orders at some point in their lives--more than any illicit drug except marijuana. By comparison, more than 26 percent of students in that age range had used cigarettes, while slightly fewer than 1 percent had used methamphetamine. The department's most recent statistics show about 3200 Missourians are treated for prescription drug abuse each year. Xanax, Oxycontin and Vicodin are the most commonly abused prescriptions, together accounting for about 86 percent of the prescription drugs abused by these patients.

Bob Twillman, the chair of the Kansas Prescription Monitoring Program Advisory Committee, said a search warrant is needed to access the information held by Kansas' prescription drug monitoring program, called K-TRACS. Any time a prescription is written, information about the prescription, the prescriber and the intended recipient is uploaded into the program. Twillman said the main difference PDMPs make for law enforcement is eliminating the need for police to visit individual pharmacies if they are tracking someone.

Studies of existing prescription monitoring programs offer mixed results. A 2002 Government Accountability Office (GAO) study found such programs improve law enforcement investigation time and productivity and help reduce the availability of abused drugs. The study also found the existence of a PDMP caused drug diversion activities to increase in states without PDMPs--such as Missouri. A 2006 study by the public policy consulting firm Simeone Associates found such programs reduce the per capita availability of prescription pain relievers, thus reducing the likelihood of abuse. That same study found prescription pain reliever abuse is higher in states with PDMPs than without, though the authors caution that the probability of abuse is higher in the absence of such programs.

Both law enforcers and pharmacists said they see incidents of prescription drug abuse on an almost daily basis. Capt. Tim Hull, the director of the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Public Information and Education Division, said state troopers find and seize prescription drugs every day, though he added the quantities seized are quite small.

"It's not like finding 200 or 300 pounds of marijuana," he said.

Hull said state troopers often find prescription drugs and illicit drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine together.

Kilgore's Pharmacy owner Bill Morrissey said his staff looks for telltale signs that a customer is doctor shopping, or getting multiple prescriptions for the same drug from multiple doctors.

"For instance, if we see someone who we know has insurance--or strongly suspect has it--try to pay cash, that's a red flag," Morrissey said, adding a PDMP would make it easier for Kilgore's to catch such customers.

Aides to Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, who was elected to the state house in November after serving two terms in the state senate, said he will introduce PDMP legislation again during the upcoming legislative session.

2010 Missouri Student Survey

2002 GAO PDMP Study

2006 Simeone Associates PDMP Study

More News

Grid
List
WILDWOOD (AP) — Two people were killed in a two-vehicle collision in eastern Missouri. St. Louis County police say... More >>
3 hours ago July 24, 2016 Jul 24, 2016 Sunday, July 24 2016 Sunday, July 24, 2016 3:52:10 PM CDT in News
DIAMOND (AP) — Southwest Missouri has a newly dedicated prairie. The 163-acre George Washington Carver Prairie was dedicated Saturday.... More >>
4 hours ago July 24, 2016 Jul 24, 2016 Sunday, July 24 2016 Sunday, July 24, 2016 3:01:01 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Tim Kaine has always been a leader. While as a student at the University of Missouri, he... More >>
5 hours ago July 24, 2016 Jul 24, 2016 Sunday, July 24 2016 Sunday, July 24, 2016 1:37:00 PM CDT in News
HARRISONVILLE (AP) — A western Missouri man has been found not guilty in a 2014 fatal shooting at a Cass... More >>
5 hours ago July 24, 2016 Jul 24, 2016 Sunday, July 24 2016 Sunday, July 24, 2016 1:25:37 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A member of the Clay family has represented St. Louis and northern suburbs in Congress for... More >>
8 hours ago July 24, 2016 Jul 24, 2016 Sunday, July 24 2016 Sunday, July 24, 2016 10:38:26 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Republican candidates in Missouri's gubernatorial primary are pledging an aggressive law-and-order approach, two years after the... More >>
9 hours ago July 24, 2016 Jul 24, 2016 Sunday, July 24 2016 Sunday, July 24, 2016 10:03:16 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Road closings this summer in downtown Columbia could make it harder to enjoy local shops and restaurants in... More >>
15 hours ago July 24, 2016 Jul 24, 2016 Sunday, July 24 2016 Sunday, July 24, 2016 3:43:00 AM CDT in News
LAKE OF THE OZARKS — One person was injured after a boat caught on fire at the 38-mile marker by... More >>
21 hours ago July 23, 2016 Jul 23, 2016 Saturday, July 23 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016 10:10:00 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis has received a $1 million gift, the largest in its... More >>
1 day ago July 23, 2016 Jul 23, 2016 Saturday, July 23 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016 5:07:03 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A 51-year-old man is accused of pulling over a vehicle and acting as if he were... More >>
1 day ago July 23, 2016 Jul 23, 2016 Saturday, July 23 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016 4:46:46 PM CDT in News
COOPER COUNTY — A man has been charged in relation to a hostage standoff east of Boonville Friday morning. ... More >>
1 day ago July 23, 2016 Jul 23, 2016 Saturday, July 23 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016 4:15:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — MU Interim Chancellor Hank Foley announced the members of the Advisory Committee for the Director of Athletics search... More >>
1 day ago July 23, 2016 Jul 23, 2016 Saturday, July 23 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016 4:01:00 PM CDT in Sports
COLUMBIA — With the extreme heat this weekend, local medical experts told people to be aware of the signs of... More >>
1 day ago July 23, 2016 Jul 23, 2016 Saturday, July 23 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016 3:53:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Out-of-towners from across the state are boosting sales for local businesses and restaurants downtown this weekend. The... More >>
1 day ago July 23, 2016 Jul 23, 2016 Saturday, July 23 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016 3:13:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY — The Jefferson City Knights of Columbus hosted a barbecue fundraiser for the country's first Special Olympics training... More >>
1 day ago July 23, 2016 Jul 23, 2016 Saturday, July 23 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016 1:54:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Athletes, parents, and officials across Columbia tried to beat the heat while participating in the Show Me State... More >>
1 day ago July 23, 2016 Jul 23, 2016 Saturday, July 23 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016 1:21:00 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Hundreds of mourners gathered for the funeral for a Kansas City, Kansas, police captain shot... More >>
1 day ago July 23, 2016 Jul 23, 2016 Saturday, July 23 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016 12:10:16 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A federal judge has tossed out a woman's lawsuit against Home Depot over the deaths of... More >>
1 day ago July 23, 2016 Jul 23, 2016 Saturday, July 23 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016 11:38:15 AM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 93°
8pm 89°
9pm 87°
10pm 84°
11pm 82°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00p
Hollywood Game Night
8:00p
American Ninja Warrior
10:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 10
7:00p
Bulletproof Heart
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Cougar Town

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Hollywood Game Night
8:00p
American Ninja Warrior
7:00p
Bulletproof Heart
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Cougar Town