Missouri House Democrats say the fight against opioid abuse is about more than passing a statewide prescription drug monitoring program. They today unveiled a slate of legislation that would attack the problem by addressing a number of other issues.
Democrats continue to support passage of a statewide prescription drug monitoring program to track the use of prescription narcotics. Such legislation has advanced farther through the legislative process in each of the past few sessions, but fallen short of passage. Last year St. Louis Democrat Fred Wessels sponsored such legislation that was combined with a bill sponsored by Sikeston Republican Holly Rehder and fell just short of final passage. Both representatives will sponsor such legislation again this year.
In addition, Democrats have filed bills that would require pharmacies to post information about methods and locations for the safe disposal of unused medication; require for medical professionals with prescribing authority at least four hours of training on the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs and recognizing addiction in patients; require the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to mirror federal regulations for prescribing opioids for chronic pain; require insurance coverage of medication assisted treatment and remove insurer-proposed barriers to addiction services; establish a sterile needle and syringe exchange pilot program; require the Show-Me Healthy Babies program to cover substance abuse treatment for women up to one year post-partum; and expand the use of CBD or hemp oil to include being used as a pain management alternative for those with a history of opioid abuse.
“Substance disorders need to have an all-of-the-above approach and what we’re proposing here is just that. We’re not only talking about PDMP. We’re talking about a number of other options; tools that should basically be put in the toolbox of not just the medical community but our entire community,” said Representative Gina Mitten (D-St. Louis).
Mitten is sponsoring the bills that deal with safe disposal of abused prescription medication and additional training for prescribers.
Missouri is the only state in the nation without a statewide prescription drug monitoring program. Many counties in the state are participating in a program initially launched in the St. Louis region, and Governor Eric Greitens (R) signed an executive order creating a tracking program for some prescription information handled by one benefits provider.
The legislation discussed today by House Democrats is for the 2018 legislative session, which begins January 3.