Lawmakers try again to pass prescription drug monitoring program

5 months 1 week 3 days ago Monday, February 24 2020 Feb 24, 2020 Monday, February 24, 2020 12:02:00 PM CST February 24, 2020 in News
By: Ethan Stein, KOMU 8 Reporter

JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri lawmakers will once again try to pass a bill to create a statewide prescription drug monitoring program.

HB 1693, which is a bipartisan bill with co-sponsors from both major parties, would create a statewide program designed to monitor prescribing and dispensing all schedule II, III, IV drugs by doctors. The bill went before a Senate committee hearing Monday.

Those classifications include include drugs like oxycodone, fentanyl, Adderall, anabolic steroids, Xanax and more.

Missouri is the only state without a statewide prescription drug monitoring program. The District of Columbia and Guam also have their own monitoring programs.

Jeff Howell, who works as the government relations specialist for the Missouri State Medical Association, said he believes the legislation would save lives and was disappointed the state hasn't passed a program earlier.

"If I asked you pass this bill back in 2006 I bet it would of saved at least one life," he said. "Probably more."

More conservative republicans expressed concerns about the policy's constitutionality and the program's ability to help with Fentanyl overdoses when the drug is collected illegally.

The absence of a statewide program led to the creation of the St. Louis County Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. The programs' website says it is used in 76 jurisdictions across the state and covers 85% of the state's population. 

Serina Mikunda, who is from St. Louis, said the programs can restrict those who need the medication. She says she needs pain killers because of her disease and the new monitoring program has made it more difficult to get the medicine she needs.

"It feels like living in hell," she said."It feels literally like being in hell and being ripped apart and set on fire over and over. Sometimes it feels like I can feel bone cutters cutting my toes. I can describe the instruments of torture used on my leg." 

To see the full bill text, click here.

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