Buchanan County Comissioner looks at drug monitoring program debate

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Buchanan County Courthouse

Buchanan County Courthouse

Buchanan County Commissioner Harry Roberts said he is watching the debate in Jefferson City over the approval of a prescription drug monitoring program.

Currently, Missouri is the only state without a PDMP. As we previously reported, in January the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Missouri counties are now eligible to receive federal funds for prescription drug monitoring programs to combat the opioid epidemic. Roberts said in Buchanan County the illegal use of prescription drugs is a big problem.

“We do know for a fact that folks come from other states to fill those prescriptions with no good intentions,” Roberts said. “The illegal sale of prescription medications is not just a problem it’s an epidemic.”

Officials have said that a PDMP would allow doctors and pharmacies to enter prescriptions into a statewide database where they are cross referenced before being dispensed again. According to Missourinet, in the past, legislation to put a PDMP in place in Missouri has been blocked by Senate Republican Rob Schaaf of St. Joseph, who thinks it would infringe on peoples’ privacy.  Roberts said he feels like there should be a way to put the monitoring program in place without violating people’s privacy.

“They are going to be debating this this week in Jefferson City,” Roberts said. “I spent some time talking to the Senator over the weekend about it.  I’ve talked to our Drug Strike Force, I’ve talked to the folks in Jeff City and they said it’s going to be debated this week….I hope they really have it thought out so it doesn’t need a lot of amendments.”

Roberts said the PDMP is a start to battling the problem.

“No one says the people who use and get hooked are bad people, they’ve just made some bad decisions,” Roberts said. “I believe that laws should be to protect us from other people and this is a perfect example.  We’ve got to have this to protect us against the bad people who are selling the drugs. Anybody who doesn’t think that’s not affecting people’s lives, it doesn’t affect that one person’s life, it affects the lives that surround that person.”