JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A proposal that has been blocked in the Missouri Senate repeatedly in recent years has advanced. The Senate has passed a bill that would establish a state prescription drug monitoring program, but some lawmakers still have concerns.
Senator David Sater’s bill would track prescriptions and sales of highly addictive medications such as painkillers. Similar bills in the past filed by Sater have been held up because of privacy concerns about the data collected, but this year Sater included measures meant to improve protections and penalties for misuse.
“I think we have probably the most secure, the most effective [prescription drug monitoring program] bill in the United States,” said Sater.
Missouri is the only state in the country without a prescription drug monitoring program.
Senator Ed Emery said he appreciates the work done to make this bill better than other states’, but he still opposes it.
“I personally didn’t take an oath to those other states’ laws, or to making better laws than those states. I took an oath to the constitution. I still believe this is an unconstitutional provision,” said Emery. “Regardless of the work that’s been done to try to avoid the pitfalls of other states, I still believe that we as a body should reject it.”
Senator Will Kraus is also concerned about privacy issues with the data collected.
“We’re taking personal information from individuals that have done nothing wrong and putting it into a government database, and I for one just don’t believe that’s what we should be doing,” said Kraus. “I think that whenever you take an innocent person’s information and put it in a database that takes away their liberty that takes away their freedoms.”
Sater said prescription drug abuse amongst teens is on the rise.
“It a major problem for the abusers and also for our kids,” said Sater. “We have a growing problem with opiate abuse in our teenage population also.”
The bill was passed 24-10 and now goes to the House, which passed its own version of a prescription drug monitoring program earlier this year. The two chambers will now to try to compromise, or choose, between the two versions.