Several of my colleagues took on another during lengthy debate in the Senate on May 3. The issue is House Bill 1193 and Senate Bill 710, which are identical measures that would establish a prescription drug monitoring program in Missouri. Only two states in the nation do not have this program in place; however, New Hampshire is expected to adopt it soon, leaving only Missouri.
Supporters of this legislation say people who get their prescriptions filled regularly, as instructed by a doctor, would not be affected by this move. But, it is those who use cash to buy prescriptions and get numerous bottles filled at different locations, selling the drugs on the streets who are the problem. It is these individuals who the sponsor of this legislation wants to stop. Statistics show pain killers are now killing more people than cocaine and heroin combined.
But, it is the method suggested for tracking these prescriptions drugs that has some people up in arms.
A drug monitoring program would mean all prescription purchases would be placed in a computer that would be monitored by the government. Opponents of House Bill 1193 and Senate Bill 710 say it is already too easy to hack big computers and has been done so numerous times to the FBI and others. So, why would a hacker pass on the chance to see who is taking what drugs?
Debate on the House measure started with an opponent asking to add a provision to the bill that would put it to a vote of the public, which the sponsor opposed. After a few hours, House Bill 1193 was set aside, meaning it could be brought back to the Senate floor at any time. The sponsor then brought up his own Senate Bill 710, which was then given preliminary approval, and amended to let it go to a vote of the people.
Meanwhile, a conference committee is now working on Missouri’s Fiscal Year 2013 operating budget, which has to be finished by 6 p.m. on May 11, 2012.
As always, if you have questions or comments, please contact my office. Thank you.
Senator Munzlinger serves the counties of Adair, Audrain, Clark, Knox, Lewis, Marion, Monroe, Pike, Putnam, Ralls, Schuyler, Scotland and Shelby.
If you have questions or comments about this or any other issue, please call (573) 751-7985 or by e-mail by clicking here.