JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Rep. Holly Rehder and the House voted by voice to reject the Senate substitute for her prescription drug monitoring bill after some heated debate on the House floor. The bill will now go to conference, though a time has not yet been set.
Just before the long weekend of Easter break, the Senate debated for hours to perfect and print a PDMP bill from Rep. Holly Rehder for the first time. However, core opponents of the measure, as well as some supporters, added several amendments to the legislation. Some of those changes proved popular with Rehder, and others did not.
The particular amendments Rehder opposed would purge the PDMP database after 180 days and another would limit the drugs only to opiates and benzodiazepines, better known as “benzos.” Benzos, like alprazolam (Xanax) and bentazepam (Thiadipona), are typically used as muscle relaxers and sedatives.
Rehder said the 180-day limit was a sticking point with medical professionals.
“Medical professionals say that two-years is the sweet spot to be able to get past addiction, when you’ve been on your feet for two years,” Rehder said on the floor.
Sen. Dave Schatz, the Senate sponsor of the bill, almost derailed debate after Sen. Will Kraus introduced that amendment, as he and Kraus disputed what the proper time should be. The bill passed, but Schatz seemed confident it would likely go to conference.
Rep. Justin Hill, along with several other Republicans, spoke on the underlying part of the bill, calling PDMPs ineffective and an intrusion on privacy. He believe clinicians, who would have to adhere to actual database and were the ones actually overprescribing opiates, should have responsibility.
“The state has absolutely no business in creating this database,” Hill said.
Rehder and Hill got into a long argument on the House floor with raised voices from both sides. Rehder flat out accused Hill of making up his facts surrounding the effectiveness of PDMPs, especially when he said no states had shown they actually stopped heroin overdoses. Rehder said the intent of PDMPs was to target overprescription of opiates and to red flag potential addicts.
“Give me some actual statistics instead of just spewing stuff out on the House floor and touting it as gospel.”
A date for the conference has not yet been set.