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Missouri Senate To Take Up Prescription Drug Monitoring With Increased Chance Of Passing

Hydrocodone is a common opioid that is prescribed for pain relief
Jonathan Ahl | St. Louis Public Radio
Next week, the Missouri Senate will debate legislation to create a statewide prescription drug monitoring program.

The Missouri Senate is set to debate legislation next week that would create a statewide prescription drug monitoring program, and it appears to have a better chance of finally passing, leaders said. 

The program is designed to stop the misuse and abuse of opioids. Missouri is the only state in the country without such a program. The measure passed through a Senate committee last week after passing the House earlier in February. 

Senate Majority Floor Leader Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, said he hopes to see the bill pass this year. 

“Conversations have been going on behind the scenes with stakeholders,” Rowden said. “Anytime you have an issue that just goes on year after year after year, and knowing we’re the only state that hasn’t done this, there is a sense of inevitability.” 

The proposal has passed the House in previous years, but because of a strong filibuster in the Senate, opponents have been able to kill the bill. Some members take issue with creating a government list and say they have privacy concerns. Others argue that this program will not address fentanyl or heroin addiction and won’t decrease opioid deaths. 

Currently, more than 80% of Missouri is covered under the St. Louis County PDMP. This measure would essentially expand the program statewide. Rowden said that’s a concern. 

“I don’t want St. Louis County running a program that should be run by the state, or should be a statewide scope,” he said. 

The current bill has added Fourth and Second Amendment protections, which does make it slightly different from the county’s PDMP. 

Minority Floor Leader John Rizzo, D-Independence, said he’s eager to discuss the proposal. 

“I am happy to hear the floor leader say we will be going to that next week,” Rizzo said. “We’re anxious to have that debate.”

If the Senate approves the measure, it will head to Gov. Mike Parson’s desk. Parson has publicly supported the idea of a statewide program in the past.

Follow Jaclyn on Twitter: @DriscollNPR

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Jaclyn is the Jefferson City statehouse reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.