Lafayette County joins St. Louis County Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Lafayette County Commissioners voted Wednesday, Dec. 13, to join the St. Louis County Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). Missouri’s first PDMP was established in 2016 to battle opioid abuse and soaring overdose deaths. Since then, a growing number of counties and cities, as well as physicians and pharmacists, have joined St. Louis County’s fully functional PDMP.
“We are excited to join with St. Louis County by becoming part of this program,” said Northern Commissioner Craig Williams. “We have all heard personal stories that speak to the seriousness of the problem in our county. We want to be part of helping to find and implement a solution to this problem we are facing statewide. “Since there has not been a statewide initiative enacted as of yet, the commission felt this was a good way to become part of finding a solution to the opioid problem in our county and state.”
Recent information from the St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society shows that as of Sept. 30, the St. Louis County Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) is available in 48 jurisdictions across Missouri, representing 71 percent of the state population and 88 percent of its health care providers. There are 4,159 users registered on the system (physicians and pharmacists) who are performing an average of 1,300 patient searches daily.
Missouri has no law that creates a PDMP, thus the St. Louis County PDMP program was created to serve other entities that wanted to join. According to a recent article by Alan Schwarz, Missouri remains the only state in America that has declined to keep a prescription drug database — the primary tool the other 49 states use to identify people who acquire excess prescriptions for addictive painkillers and tranquilizers, as well as the physicians who overprescribe them.
Physicians are urged to sign up for the PDMP. The registration process is brief and requires uploading of credentials such as medical licenses. Physicians may also designate staff members to have login credentials for the PDMP.
Under the PDMP, pharmacies are required to report to the PDMP database all Schedule II, III and IV controlled substance prescriptions dispensed in the participating jurisdiction. Physicians can check the database for the patient’s history Schedule II-IV prescriptions. The system will provide a “Potential Doctor Shopper Alert” for any person who has obtained controlled substance prescriptions from three or more providers and filled them at three or more pharmacies over the past six months.
On July 17 of this year, Governor Eric Greitens signed an executive order directing the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to begin work creating a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. Through partnerships with private sector leaders, the state will be able to monitor prescribers and dispensers to find and eliminate bad actors in the system.
“We need to be honest and clear about the scale of what we are up against: Opioids are a modern plague,” Greitens said. “Like the plague, opioids kill the young, the old, the healthy, the sick, the virtuous and the sinful. There’s not a corner of our state that hasn’t been visited by this curse. There is no single program, or law, or executive order that can fix this crisis. This program is a step — and it’s a big step.”
Williams said now that the county has passed an ordinance to become part of the coalition and has been enrolled in the program, it should take about three months before all of the necessary data has been gathered and records become available to those who prescribe medications.

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