(KMOV.com) – In the upcoming legislative session, some Missouri lawmakers say they’ll push for a prescription drug monitoring program after Express Scripts found that Missouri residents chronically use opioid painkillers at a rate of 36 percent above the national average.
16,000 people died from overdoses on painkilling opioids in 2010 and these drugs cause more deaths than any other drug in the United States.
“The CDC has even called it an epidemic,” said Dr. Clark Kebodeaux, of the St. Louis College of Pharmacy, when asked about prescription drug abuse. “[Drug abusers] will come to Missouri because we don’t have a prescription drug monitoring program.”
The co-founder of “The Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery,” Chad Sabora, says the group is pushing for a monitoring program in Missouri. And Sabora says he has first-hand experience, he’s also a recovering addict.
“There are pain pills flooding the streets of St. Louis,” Sabora said. “One of the best way for prevention is to limit access to pain medication. It’s a fight we need to fight.”
Under current Missouri law, addicts can doctor shop, going from doctor to doctor getting pain medication subscriptions. After that, they go to different pharmacies to get them filled. In other states, that information goes to a database so medical professionals can spot signs of abuse.
“Once thing is not going to get rid of our prescription drug abuse,” Dr. Kebodeaux said. “It’s just not, but it is a tool that can help curb prescription drug abuse and help medical professionals better treat their patients.”
In 2012, New York began a monitoring program requiring doctors to check the database before prescribing painkillers. In 2013, there was a 75 percent drop in patients doctor shopping. Tennessee also started its program in 2013 and has seen a 36 percent decrease.