The Missouri House of Representatives is set to vote Monday on legislation that would create a statewide prescription drug monitoring program.
The House gave preliminary approval to the measure 95-56 on Wednesday.
Missouri is the only state in the nation that does not have a statewide PDMP, which is designed to help catch misuse and abuse of prescription opioids.
Several members of the Legislature have concerns about a government list. Some say this could increase overdose deaths by driving users to the illicit market, where more dangerous drugs like heroin and fentanyl are available.
Rep. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, has sponsored the legislation for years. She said a PDMP is necessary to make sure people don’t become addicted to painkillers in the first place.
“As a grandmother who got my grandbaby out of a meth lab, who was living in one, there’s no way that I would have the passion for this bill if I did not know from researching the data that this gets to the underlying problem,” Rehder said on the floor during debate. “A person doesn’t go to illicit drugs immediately.”
The House has passed legislation for years, but the hang-up has been in the Senate. Majority Floor Leader Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, said both he and Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, are committed to passing the measure. However, Rowden expects similar pushback this year.
“I don’t know that the folks on the other side are any less ginned up about it than they were, but there just comes a point where we’re all going to have to be big boys and girls and make tough decisions,” Rowden said.
More than 80% of the state’s population is covered under the St. Louis County PDMP. This proposal would require the Department of Health and Senior Services to establish a program that would monitor the prescribing and dispensing of these medications.
Each physician would be required to electronically send the dispensing information, which includes prescription and patient information. The information must be sent within 24 hours up until Jan. 1, 2023, where everyone will be required to report the information in real time.
Other major topics expected to be discussed in the Legislature include Hyperloop tube transportation and eminent domain for power lines. This legislation deals specifically with the Grain Belt Express power line, which is a high-voltage electric transmission line that would cross the northern part of the state.
Follow Jaclyn on Twitter: @DriscollNPR
Send questions and comments about this story to firstname.lastname@example.org