Missouri on Monday will become the final state to enact a prescription drug monitoring program. Gov. Mike Parson plans to sign bipartisan legislation from Holly Rehder (R-Scott City) and Rep. Travis Smith (R-Dora) on the Capitol lawn in Jefferson City.
The program is an electronic database that collects data on controlled substance prescriptions within a state. Rehder, Smith and other supporters say informed doctors make better decisions. Rehder’s Senate Bill 63 will establish the “Joint Oversight Task Force of Prescription Drug Monitoring” within the state Office of Administration. Members will be selected from the Board of Registration for the Healing Arts, the Board of Pharmacy, the Board of Nursing and the Missouri Dental Board.
This is the ninth straight year that Rehder has filed the legislation She filed it every year she was in the Missouri House, from 2013 to 2020. Rehder, who was forced out of the House by term limits, was elected to the state Senate in November 2020. Although the Missouri House and Senate approved a bill last year, they passed different versions.
The issue is personal for Rehder, who has urged the Legislature not to judge people “unless you’ve walked a mile in their moccasins.” During an emotional May 2020 House floor speech, Rehder revealed to legislative colleagues that her late mother and late sister both were sexually assaulted multiple times and turned to prescription drugs for their pain. Rehder has said several times that she’s thankful that God has given her the ability to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves. She also says Missouri’s medical professionals must have the knowledge of what their patients are on before prescribing more medication.
The issue also is personal to Smith, who is secretary for the Ozarks Healthcare Board.. The bill has been a top priority for health groups. It’s also been a priority for the Missouri Farm Bureau, which is the state’s largest general farm organization.
The new law will take effect on August 28.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice