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Columbia Area Legislators Express Support for Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

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The Center for Disease Control says that Missouri is missing vital legislation to combat prescription drug abuse.

Columbia area legislators agree that youth drug use could be stemmed by establishing a better way to track adult drug users.

State Representatives Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport, Caleb Jones, R-Columbia, Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia, and Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, all attended a legislative summit last week hosted by the Youth Advisory Council and Youth Community Coalition focusing on youth issues.

They said they would support a bill to establish a prescription drug monitoring program should one come through the General Assembly next session. 

Missouri is the only state in the nation without a prescription drug monitoring program, which tracks patients using Schedule II drugs and higher to help doctors identify patients abusing their prescriptions.

Rep. Rowden said the General Assembly sees a bill addressing this topic almost every year, but it is either weakened or filibustered in the state Senate. He told the crowd that the concern for some in the Senate is the possibility of a data breach.

Rep. Rowden, though, said the risk here is no greater than for other state programs that use citizen data.

“The trade-off is there is an opportunity that at some point some of their information gets into someone else’s—gets into the wrong hands. I think that’s a reality most of us live with every day in areas outside of prescription drug monitoring.”

Rep. Basye said he is more concerned about the possibility of a breach that some of his counterparts, but that he could see himself supporting a bill that had the right language.

Abigail Keel is a senior student at the Missouri School of Journalism. She is originally from St. Louis, Missouri and grew up hating the drone of public radio in her parent's car. In high school, she had a job picking up trash in a park where she listened to podcasts for entertainment and made a permanent switch to public-radio lover. She's volunteered and interned for Third Coast International Audio Festival in Chicago, IL, and worked on the KBIA shows Faith and Values, Intersection and CoMO Explained.
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