Governor Mike Parson signed SB 63 into law June 7, which creates a statewide prescription drug monitoring program in Missouri.
The legislation will help healthcare professionals better monitor the provision of opioids and other prescribed controlled substances to their patients.
Similar statewide prescription drug monitoring programs have been adopted in every other state in hopes to address the opioid epidemic in the United States.
According to a press release from the governor’s office, the bill establishes the Joint Oversight Task Force of Prescription Drug Monitoring to be responsible for collecting and maintaining prescription and dispensation of prescribed, controlled substances to patients in the state of Missouri.
“Establishing a statewide prescription drug monitoring program has been a top priority for my administration,” Parsons said in the press release. “SB 63 will help provide necessary information to health care professionals and empower them to make decisions that better serve their patients and assist in fighting the opioid epidemic in Missouri.”
The bill was prefiled in December of 2019 and passed in the Senate last year, which has been a major obstacle in the past. The bill was put on pause when the coronavirus disrupted the session.
According to the Department of Health and Senior Services, Missouri had 1,132 opioid deaths in 2018. Just one out of every 56 of those deaths in 2018 were due to an opioid overdose.
This bill creates a system that allows pharmacists and physicians to track prescriptions. Sen. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, sponsored the legislation for the past nine years.
“It is incredibly gratifying to finally see this law enacted,” Rehder said in a press release June 8. “I’m so very thankful for the bipartisan support from colleagues on both sides of the political divide who understand this bill is not about politics, but about helping our families and those struggling with substance use disorder.”
Rehder also said the bill was a significant step Missouri took in fighting the opioid epidemic.
Healing House, a recovery residency program at 4505 St. John Ave. in Northeast Kansas City, Mo., gives those affected by drug addiction a place to recover mentally, spiritually and physically, according to the faith-based organization’s website.
“It’s been a long time coming; we’ve wanted it for years,” Healing House President Bobbi Jo Reed said. “Since there was no monitoring going on state-wise, people could go to multiple doctors [for opioids and narcotics] and get more and more addicted. Then also they would sell their products to people that did not have a prescription for a lot of money so it really turned into a criminal thing.”
The program would only collect data on medications that are considered controlled painkillers and some anti-anxiety drugs. The GOP-led House voted 91-64 in favor of the bill May 11.
SB 63 also states that patient information is considered a closed record under state law and will not be provided to law enforcement agencies, prosecutorial officials or regulatory bodies for purposes not allowed under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
This act also modifies the expiration date of the RX Cares for Missouri Program from August 28, 2019 to August 28, 2026.