St. Louis County approves prescription monitoring program -

St. Louis County approves prescription monitoring program

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(Credit: KMOV) (Credit: KMOV)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP/ – The St. Louis County Council approved a prescription drug monitoring bill shortly after the Missouri House gave initial approval for a statewide program.

Lawmakers debated the legislation Tuesday after House leadership spent about three weeks trying to smooth over disagreements between Republicans. It was approved 91-68.

A monitoring system is aimed at informing doctors and pharmacists when similar prescriptions were recently written or filed. Bill sponsor Rep. Holly Rehder said that system would help get painkillers off the street and decrease opiate overdoses.

House Speaker Todd Richardson supported the monitoring program, but some other Republicans called it an unconstitutional invasion of privacy. Rep. Jay Barnes said the database wouldn't stop people determined to feed their addictions.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger signed the program into law at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The county plans to have pharmacies enrolled in its database within 180 days.

“We are attacking the heroin epidemic from many angles,” County Executive Stenger said. “In addition to our PDMP program, we are training and equipping our officers with Narcan, which reverses the effects of opioids. And we are also devoting police and county resources toward educating the public about the dangers of these substances.”

Missouri is the only state without a prescription drug monitoring program. The statewide bill needs another vote to go to the Senate.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press / KMOV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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