Heartland lawmaker renews push for drug monitoring program in Missouri

SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - A Heartland lawmaker from Sikeston, Missouri is reviving her plan to create a statewide prescription drug monitoring program.

Monday, Dec. 1 was Missouri House Republican Holly Rehder’s first day back in Jefferson City, and she picked right back up on an effort track addictive and often dangerous drugs across county lines.

“I don’t give up on things,” she said. “It’s so important to catch addiction on the front end and this is something that Missourians and our medical professionals need.”

Rehder partnered with incoming Senator Tony Luetkemeyer to pre-file the 'Narcotics Control Act' in both the Missouri House and the Senate.

The bill would create an online database that physicians and pharmacist can use to track how many pills a patient buys and which pharmacies they visit.

Rehder says it’s her seventh time sponsoring a bill to start a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, or PDMP, since she took office in 2012.

A similar bill did pass the Missouri House in 2017, but Rehder says Republican Rob Schaaf blocked it in the Senate.

Now that Schaaf is retiring in January, Rehder says she is more confident than ever the Narcotics Control Act can pass.

"I am very hopeful. I am very much in faith that it's going to get done,” she said. “We have our leadership from both houses who want to get this done and get this done early so I think that this is by far the best shot that we've ever had."

Rehder also pre-filed two other bills PDMP legislation she says will help protect patients.

One specifically looks at making syringes more accessible. Rehder says statistical data show that IV needle users do not use more of a drug just because somebody gave you a free needle.

“So it doesn’t enable in anyway,” Rehder said. “But what it does do is it puts a medical professional in contact with the person who is addicted. People who use syringe access programs are six times more likely to get into to treatment, make it through and get back to a happy healthy lifestyle.”

The process for voting on all of these bills will start when the Missouri General Assembly Session begins on January 9, 2019.

Copyright 2018 KFVS. All rights reserved.