More obstacles get in the way of state-wide prescription drug monitoring program

Rep. Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston) addresses the house floor Tuesday, April 18th, 2017. (Ashley Zavala/KRCG)

A law which would establish a statewide prescription drug monitoring program ran into yet another road block Tuesday, this time in the Missouri House.

The bill's sponsor, Representative Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston), asked the house to refuse changes the senate made to the bill when the body passed it last week.

Rehder was opposed to the changes requiring the data be purged from the drug monitoring system after 180 days. She also had concerns about the senate's change requiring the database only track opioids and benzodiazepines.

Rehder has been trying to get a prescription drug monitoring program established in Missouri since 2013.

Some state representatives argued on the chamber floor Tuesday, the drug monitoring program could lead addicts to cheaper, stronger, illegal drugs.

"You can argue until your blue in the face with physicians, they have people's health in mind, but I'm telling you, the unintended consequence is absolutely moving people to the illicit market to feed addiction," said Representative Justin Hill (R- Lake St. Louis) "We don't have control over the illicit market."

Missouri is the only state in the country without a prescription drug monitoring program. Some lawmakers on the house floor Tuesday raised concerns about the program's ineffectiveness in other states such as Ohio and Kentucky.

"That's why you can't do apples to apples from state to state, because the drivers [of addiction] are unemployment, high occupational hazards, which is what you find more in the Appalachian mountains," Rehder said.

A voice vote resulted in the house refusing to adopt the senate's changes. The bill was sent to conference committee for the house and senate to try and compromise on the legislation.

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