St. Louis County to pursue own opioid monitoring law -

St. Louis County to pursue own opioid monitoring law

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St. Louis County officials are taking steps to monitor distribution of prescription medicines that can lead to heroin addiction.

Lawmakers in Jefferson City have been arguing over this for more than ten years. PDMP or "prescription drug monitoring program" sets up a computer data base to track prescription drugs in the area.That prevents someone from what is called "doctor shopping" to get prescriptions filled from various physicians to feed an addiction.

St. Louis County is now taking steps to set up its own PDMP.

“Because the state has failed to act, we have been forced to act,” Steve Stenger, St. Louis County Executive, said. “The bill has gone nowhere in Jefferson City for the past 12 years.”

“I do hope it sends a message to legislators,” Dan Duncan, NCADA, said. “Look one of the two largest urban centers in the state has found it necessary to take action on our own. In the past seven years more than 2,700 people in the St. Louis area have died from a heroin or opioid-related overdose.”

 And the problem isn't going away.

“Just Friday, I was traveling with my wife on errands,” Lieutenant Colonel Ken Cox, St. Louis County Police, said. I heard on the police radio, two overdose reports. Just Friday, another one Friday, another one Saturday. This is all over the county not one specific area.”

While the PDMP would cover St. Louis County those wishing to abuse the system could still head to neighboring counties.

“We have a state where all the towns along our borders complain because folks from Illinois or from Kansas come across to fill narcotic prescriptions and that annoys their treating physicians in those states because they can't track the opioids,” Dr. Sam Page, St. Louis County Council, said.

Page says he's had conversations with other counties and there's interest in joining in on creating their own PDMPs.

“The state has been working on this issue for 12 years and hasn't gotten anywhere on it,” Stenger said. “It’s grown to massive proportion. It’s an epidemic for our region, for our county. We'll take every step we can to combat this problem.”

The cost to set up the prescription drug monitoring program would be $100,000. If there's no opposition it could pass through the council in three weeks. Setting up the program would take another four to six weeks after that.

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