The nation and the Show-Me State continue to fight the opioid crisis.
Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others
Even though Missouri is among the worst 20 states for overdose deaths, it still does not have a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP).
Retired Joplin Police Chief Lane Roberts, now a member of the Missouri House, says a bill establishing a PDMP has moved ahead in recent days in the state legislature in Jefferson City. He says the bill under consideration would focus on intervention.
“This bill is certainly not without its controversies,” the District 161 Representative says. “Nobody likes data collection. I voted in favor of it for many of same reason that local sheriffs and chiefs support it.”
Roberts says all opioid abusers are not the same. Some people are classic pushers who obtain the drugs to sell for a huge amount of profit.
He says some others have had their addictions develop in a different way.
“Remember, people addicted to opioids are not always doing it because of a decision to use drugs,” Roberts states. “Sometimes it is because they are being prescribed them and they are unable to get away from them.
“I know many people this has happened to and they are decent folks. When this happens, the consequences to families and the public are immense.”
A key feature of the bill would be to allow physicians to obtain more information from patients about the types of drugs they are taking, something they are not now fully able to do. This alone, Robert says, this would be a valuable step in combating the crisis.
Roberts holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Liberty University and an MBA from William Woods University in Fulton. He also is a graduate of the FBI National Academy (Session 178) and the Northwest Law Enforcement Executive Command College
“The opioid crisis is nationwide,” Roberts states. “We really need a bill to address this problem help the state of Missouri join the fight.”
This is not the first time the Missouri legislature has considered this type of legislation. A prescription drug monitoring program bill failed to pass in the Missouri legislature in 2017.