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Experts Weigh Impact of Greitens' Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

It's not yet clear whether Gov. Eric Greitens' prescription-drug monitoring program will impact existing county PDMPs. (Darko Stojanovic/Pixabay)
It's not yet clear whether Gov. Eric Greitens' prescription-drug monitoring program will impact existing county PDMPs. (Darko Stojanovic/Pixabay)
July 20, 2017

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – It was a long time coming, but the announcement that Missouri will begin creating a prescription drug-monitoring program is getting a lukewarm response.

Gov. Eric Greitens this week bypassed the state legislature when he issued an executive order to establish the database.

Greitens says he issued the order because the opioid crisis needs to be addressed.

Kimberly Johnson, director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), says the vast majority of people battling addiction get medications from a friend or family member, as opposed to obtaining them from multiple doctors.

"Three or four percent do actually get their drugs that way, and that small percentage is also what could put more of that medication out on the street for re-sale on the illegal market," she points out.

Prior to Greitens' announcement, Missouri was the only state in the nation that had not approved a prescription drug-monitoring program. Opponents cite privacy concerns.

Greitens' order has been criticized for its lack of specifics, but other legislators have called it a step in the right direction.

Johnson says prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) not only prevent drug abuse but also are an important tool for physicians who may not have all the necessary information on a given patient.

"They can look and see what else other physicians may have prescribed for their patients and not prescribe things that might have interactions with the medications they're considering," she explains.

In the absence of a state prescription drug-monitoring program, counties already had moved to create their own PDMPs covering nearly 60 percent of Missouri's population.


Kevin Patrick Allen, Public News Service - MO