Southeast MO representative explains failed prescription drug monitoring program bill

Missouri drug monitoring program fails
Updated: May. 16, 2017 at 6:06 PM CDT
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"It was devastating, I mean so disappointing that we had it in our grasp," Mo State Rep. Holly Rehder said.

Missouri's 2017 legislative session is over and there is still no state-wide program to monitor prescription drugs.

That leaves the show-me state as the only state without one.

As you may have noticed, State Representative Holly Rehder is disappointed in the decision, but said she still plans to push for a prescription drug monitoring program.

It's been five years since Rehder started pushing for a state-wide prescription drug monitoring program and this year she almost made her goal.

"It's been very difficult indeed," she said.

Rehder said they got closer to creating a prescription drug database than ever before, but came up short.

"It's kind of a moving target and we think we got one set taken care of and something else would pop up," Rehder said.

For years, Senator Rob Schaaf has been one of the leading opponents of the bill. This year, Rehder said surprisingly they came to an agreement.

But she said that wasn't enough after the bill changed as it traveled from the House to the Senate.

On top of that, some Missouri counties used federal funds to set up their own drug databases and didn't want a weaker statewide plan.

"This would've set them back," she said. "So the St. Louis County reps even though this would've opened this up to the entire state said they really couldn't take a lesser version of their own to open it up to the rest of the state."

Governor Eric Greitens pledges his support for a state-wide monitoring program.

Rehder said she hasn't talked to the governor since it failed, but is hoping for the bill to be considered in a possible special session.

In the meantime, Rehder said this is just a bump in the road to get Missourians the protection she feels they deserve.

"I have a few battle scars on me from this past week, but I'm a tough girl," Rehder said. "I'm going to get this done one way or another and we're going to get PDMP passed in the state of Missouri."

Rehder wants to make it clear she doesn't fault reps from counties already using their own database programs turning down the bill, but she hopes that doesn't hurt the chances of creating a state-wide program.

In southeast Missouri, Rehder said a few counties including Stoddard, Mississippi, New Madrid and Pemiscot are working to create a similar drug database using those federal funds.

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