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Sebastián Martínez Valdivia / KBIA

About 15 miles southwest of St. Louis, is Fenton City Park. It’s pretty unremarkable, with picnic shelters, softball fields, and flags waving gently from a memorial to fallen soldiers. It's also where Kevin Mullane sought refuge as he struggled with an opioid addiction.

"Anybody that knew Kevin knew he loved Fenton Park," Kevin's mother Kathi Arbini said, recounting how her song became increasingly isolated. Mullane turned to prescription opioids to deal with depression. He eventually started stealing medications from friends and family members, and doctor-shopping for more.

Senate Cuts Prescription Drug Monitoring Program in Budget Proposal

Apr 16, 2018

 If Missouri lawmakers want a statewide drug monitoring program, they’ll need to fight for it in a legislative conference committee.

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday cut funding for a prescription drug monitoring program that Gov. Eric Greitens created in an executive order in summer 2017.

For five years now, the Missouri legislature has considered legislation to create a prescription drug monitoring database that would allow pharmacists and physicians to look at their patient's prescription history for signs of misuse of narcotics. And for five years, Missouri pharmacists like Erica Hopkins have watched those efforts fail with disappointment.


ep_jhu / flickr

"If you ask a 15-year-old who's never been addicted to drugs, 'would you take heroin?' [they'd say,] 'Oh my gosh no,'" says Missouri State Representative Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston). 

"But after two years of addiction, and they can't afford to buy the pills anymore, and someone offers them heroin for ten bucks - it's not the bogeyman anymore."