By Holly Rehder
State Representative - Missouri 148th District
I'm State Representative Holly Rehder from Missouri's 148th District. I've been fighting since elected to establish a prescription drug monitoring program in Missouri. We are the only state in the nation without one. And there's no doubt we need one.
In Missouri, the rate of hospital inpatient and emergency room visits for opioid overuse more than doubled, from 10,800 in 2005 to 25,700 in 2014. Many of these costs are footed by you the taxpayer. A PDMP is a state-run program that allows your medical professionals to see your medication history. It can help identify early signs of addiction and can prevent doctors from accidentally prescribing dangerous drug combinations.
Maybe prescription drug abuse has impacted your family. It has mine. At 17, my daughter got hurt at work and was given a prescription for painkillers. After that she began purchasing them at work and we went through 13 years of rehabs, prison, and my grandson being born with opiates in his system. Addiction does not discriminate. It's time we all talk about this overwhelming problem in our society.
When I talk to local students and ask what do you want to be when you grow up? I get responses like nurse, lawyer, business owner. No one says "a drug addict." House Bill 90 and Senate Bill 231 would set up a PDMP for Missouri, while keeping your medical records protected. This is not a silver bullet. But it is a proven tool in all other states but Missouri. I encourage you to reach out to your state lawmakers and let them know, we need this tool in our toolbox so that we can join in this fight against prescription drug abuse.