Funding for Drug Monitoring Programs Available to Missouri Counties
Legislation changes have made it possible for counties in Missouri to set up drug monitoring programs. Programs that give doctors and pharmacists a better idea of whether people are working the system to get multiple prescriptions to feed addictions.
Last year, 40,000 Americans died from a drug overdose and 2/3 of those deaths were caused by prescription pills. Now, counties in Missouri can get federal funding to set up local prescription drug monitoring programs, something many say is a step in the right direction to combating the addiction epidemic.
“I think that it would definitely help, [in stopping] people getting huge amounts of prescriptions from different doctors,” says Jennifer Cartwright.
Cartwright knows firsthand the dangers of drug addiction. Her brother Brett died of an overdose in August 2016. She’s also a recovering addict, she says “doctor shopping” was the most damaging and that a monitoring program could’ve helped.
“I think my sobriety would’ve come earlier,” she says.
The program would create a database to connect counties so pharmacists could see if patients are filling prescriptions in multiple places. Right now, they’re in the dark.
“We’re out here guessing and we think it’s really needed, there’s a lot of abuse going on in the area and we want to help do our part to prevent it,” says Koby Prater the pharmacist and owner of Bruner’s Pharmacy with locations in Webb City and Seneca.
Although state legislation has failed to pass, Senator Claire McCaskill says the funding will allow pharmacists and physicians in Missouri counties to work with those in other states.
“They will be able to see if someone has gone to someplace to get a prescription for Oxycontin from Kansas in the morning, Missouri in the afternoon and Arkansas in the evening,” the Democratic Senator says.
Something Cartwright thinks could’ve helped her family.
“They would’ve found out that he was using a lot of other substances and that would’ve saved his life, I know it,” says Cartwright.
Missouri is the only state in the nation without a state wide prescription drug monitoring program. It will be up to the county commissioners to apply for the funding. Jasper County officials say they’re considering taking part in the program, but because it’s so new, there are no immediate plans.