This week, I presented one of my top priorities in the Health and Pensions Committee: Senate Bill 231, the Narcotics Control Act.
This legislation will establish a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (known as a PDMP) in our state in an effort to combat the common practice of “doctor shopping” that drug dealers and addicts use to acquire pain killers and opioids.
These prescription pain killers often lead to opioid dependence, which often leads to former patients turning to heroin as a cheap pain killing alternative. This epidemic is particularly acute in Missouri as we are the last state in the nation without a PDMP and so the nation’s doctor shoppers have made Missouri their home.
Missouri is so far behind on establishing a PDMP that many counties have already moved forward in establishing their own. Counties like St. Louis, St. Charles, Jackson, Ste. Genevieve, and the cities of St. Louis, Independence and Kansas City have also moved ahead of our state and implemented PDMP.
This means millions of Missourians are already living with this law, but millions more live in areas where doctor shopping is still relatively easy.
A large portion of the 26th Senate District lies within St. Louis County and I have not heard any complaints from constituents in St. Louis County about the county’s PDMP. The support for establishing a PDMP has grown dramatically in recent years.
Two years ago, our district survey placed support for the measure at 55 percent but in our most recent 2016 survey, support rose to 70 percent.
Across the state, dozens of organizations in both health care and law enforcement have stepped up to join the pro-PDMP movement.
A list of the organizations supporting Senate Bill 231 can be found here: http://mopdmpnow.com/about-us/coalition-members/. This committee hearing is just the beginning of the fight. My Transportation, Infrastructure, and Public Safety Committee will hear another PDMP bill that I filed in the coming weeks and I will be pushing to have this important issue come to the senate floor as soon as possible.
It is far past the time for this bill to become law so that Missouri can join the rest of the nation in combating the opioid epidemic. I have personally seen the pain that opioid and heroin addiction can cause and that is why this issue is so close to my heart and is so important to me and to so many in our community.