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PDMP discussion returns to Senate committee

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An effort to battle Missouri’s opioid epidemic with a prescription drug monitoring program was back in the Senate Committee on Seniors, Families and Children on March 27.

The committee, which passed a drug monitoring bill earlier in the session, held another hearing to hear testimony on a version of the legislation that has been passed by the Missouri House of Representatives.

House Bill 188 would give physicians and pharmacists a critical tool needed to identify patients who “pill shop,” a practice where people can attain multiple prescriptions from different doctors across a region. Missouri is the only state in the nation that lacks a statewide monitoring program, often called a PDMP.

“In America we’re having an opioid epidemic and all states … have been moving to try to find some things to be helpful with this epidemic,” said Rep. Holly Rehder, a Republican from Sikeston.

During the hearing, CoxHealth emergency physician Dr. Jacob Baltz said he currently uses a PDMP that covers certain counties of Missouri. He said a statewide PDMP would provide a better tool to identify and help patients who have drug abuse problems.

“I’m on the front lines of seeing patients that are dealing with the opioid epidemic that faces our nation and the great State of Missouri,” said Dr. Baltz. “I take care of patients that in the worst case have overdosed and died from narcotics. I take care of patients that are in acute pain, such as broken bones, cancer, injuries, sickness. And I see patients that have drug addiction problems. And the PDMP is an important tool that I can use on a daily basis to help treat my patients.”

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry supports the creation of a PDMP in Missouri and testified in support of the bill.

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