Vernon County to Adopt Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
More prescription opioids are sold in Missouri than any other Midwestern state. It’s also the only state without a statewide prescription drug monitoring program. Legislation passed in January gave counties the ability to set up the programs and Vernon County is the first in our area take advantage of it.
Nevada pharmacist Jordan Leininger dispenses dozens of prescriptions a day. He says in the past few years, the volume of those for opioids has gone up. As opioid abuse becomes more common nationwide, he says not having a prescription drug monitoring program makes his job more difficult.
“There’s a lot of questions that get raised and with the way it is right now, there’s no way of knowing if it’s a legitimate prescription that you’re about to fill or not,” says Leininger.
That will change in July when pharmacies in Vernon County gain access to a database that will show if patients have been using multiple doctors and pharmacies to fill several prescriptions.
Alyson Harder, the CEO of Heartland Behavioral Health Services in Nevada, helped get the proposal in front of the city and county.
“As a hospital and as a provider one of the things that we continually see is the effects of substance abuse and misuse. For us it’s really about ensuring that our community can be safe, that we can provide an educational tool for those folks who are prescribing opioids,” says Harder.
She says the rate of abuse and misuse is increasing in Southwest Missouri .
“I think that’s why we had to take a stand and say we needed something that is for the providers. It’s not about criminality it’s truly about education and wellness and health,” she says.
It will make Leininger’s job easier and bring him some peace of mind.
“We are the last person in line before these medications go out to the public and with the epidemic nationwide and locally, we play a huge role in this. Why we’re so excited about doing this, it allows us to really perform our job to the max that we can,” says Leininger.
Harder says until legislation for a statewide program passes, the goal is to have 80 percent of Missouri’s counties on board with this PDMP by January.