JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri moved one step closer to no longer being the only state without a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) Tuesday afternoon.
The Missouri Senate passed Sen. Holly Rehder’s SB 63 which establishes the Joint Oversight Task Force of Prescription Drug Monitoring within the Office of Administration, creating a statewide PDMP. The task force would work with a vendor after a competitive bid to collect and maintain patient data — which would be deleted after three years.
The bill was perfected after more than six hours of debate last week. On Tuesday, it passed the upper chamber in a 20-12 vote with the entirety of the Conservative Caucus voting against it.
Rehder told The Missouri Times she was “very thankful for the vote today and ecstatic that we have moved one step closer to having a state-wide program.”
Sen. Mike Moon held the floor for about 30 minutes Tuesday before eventually allowing the bill to come to a vote. He, along with other Conservative Caucus members, has remained staunchly opposed to the legislation.
“We have 49 other states that are test cases for whether or not this sort of system works, and 49 have failed,” Sen. Rick Brattin said. “We still continue to see an epidemic of overdoses — it does not move the ball forward, it just encourages people to transition to another kind of drug to overdose from.”
The bill would also restrict the database from being used by agencies that could prevent Missourians from owning firearms or to establish probable cause for a criminal investigation. Individuals disclosing information for illegal purposes would face a class E felony charge.
Amendments added on the floor during perfection last week included one extending the sunset on the RX Cares for Missouri program, which allows the disposal of unwanted drugs, through 2026; another would subject the task force to Missouri’s Sunshine Law.
Missouri is the only state not to have a statewide PDMP; St. Louis County has its own version, which covers nearly 85 percent of the state.
Rehder sponsored the effort yearly during her tenure in the House, with last year’s attempt laid over on the final day of session after stalling in the Senate.
Cameron Gerber studied journalism at Lincoln University. Prior to Lincoln, he earned an associate’s degree from State Fair Community College. Cameron is a native of Eldon, Missouri.
Contact Cameron at email@example.com.