Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Prescription Monitoring Hits Roadblock in Missouri Senate

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Prescription Monitoring Hits Roadblock in Missouri Senate

Article excerpt

JEFFERSON CITY * The debate over prescription drug monitoring in Missouri could be over for the year as opponents stalled a vote in the state Senate on Thursday.

With time running low before the Legislature is forced to adjourn Friday, it's unclear whether the measure will again be brought up for debate.

The proposal, which advanced narrowly through the House in early March, had encountered headwinds all legislative session.

Missouri is the only state without a prescription drug monitoring program. Under the measure, the state Department of Health and Senior Services would start tracking all federal Schedule II through Schedule IV prescriptions in the state.

Proponents say the programs are an important tool in deterring opioid abuse and "doctor shopping" when addicts visit multiple doctors in pursuit of similar prescriptions. The programs allow doctors to compare notes and address addictions before they spiral, supporters say.

But opponents, led Thursday by state Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, say that other states have encountered problems with their databases and that the programs encroach on personal liberties.

"We're saying we want every citizen of this state to give up a little bit of their liberty," Schaaf said, "to take your privacy away from you and put this sensitive information in this government database so that we can use that information to prevent someone else from breaking the law."

Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, the Senate sponsor, said that supporters had added numerous protections, such as reducing the time the data can be stored, requiring audits and encryption and preventing law enforcement from obtaining warrants based solely on the information. …

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