Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Missouri Heroin Epidemic: Would a Drug Monitoring Program Help Curb Rise in Use?

Posted By on Mon, Mar 11, 2013 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge VIA

Missouri is the only state in the country that doesn't have a so-called "prescription drug monitoring program" -- a fact that could be contributing to the rapid growth of heroin use in the state, as evidenced by new data we reported on last week.

"There are a lot of people who are 'doctor shoppers,' who go from doctor to doctor," Brenda Schell, executive director of the Missouri Recovery Network, tells Daily RFT. "And when they no longer can get prescription drugs, they turn to heroin and heroin is fairly cheap."

One Missouri lawmaker, with support from advocates, is pushing a bill that could address the increasing challenge of heroin abuse in the state.

The Missouri Recovery Network released a report last week that included a wide range of alarming statistics around heroin use, including the fact that heroin deaths have more than tripled in just four years with 244 fatalities in 2011 -- a number advocates believe is likely an undercount.

And the same week this study was released, advocates spoke at a hearing at the Capitol for Senate Bill 233, a proposal from State Senator David Sater, a Republican. The bill, which would establish a prescription drug monitoring program for Missouri, says:

The Department of Health and Senior Services is required to establish and maintain a program to monitor the prescribing and dispensing of all Schedule II through Schedule IV controlled substances by all licensed professionals who prescribe or dispense these substances in Missouri. The provisions of this act shall be funded with federal or private moneys.

A dispenser shall electronically submit to the department information for each prescription and specify the frequency of the submissions.

click to enlarge prescription_drugs.jpg

Submitted prescription information remains confidential under this proposal, though the act does allow for the release of general statistical information for educational and research purposes.

The bill also creates punishments for doctors who fail to report.

Continue for more details on the program and for a draft of the legislation.

Tags: , , , ,

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 26, 2022

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2022 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation