Pettis County will be joining a growing number of counties, including Benton, Johnson, and Saline counties in subscribing to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program developed through the St. Louis County Health Department.

According to a press release from the Pettis County Health Center, participation in the program was approved by the Pettis County Health Center Board of Trustees and the Pettis County Commission. Pharmacies will begin submitting information into the system on June 1, and prescribers will be able to view the system.

The goal of the program is to assist prescribers and patients better understand the risks associated with multiple prescriptions for highly addictive medications, to provide needed medications in correct amounts, and to provide another strategy in addressing the growing problem of prescription drug abuse, according to the press release.

Missouri is the only state in the U.S. that does not have a statewide monitoring program for controlled medications on the Schedules II-IV. Missouri does have a monitoring program for Schedule V, which includes pseudoephedrine (Sudafed).

Another goal of the program is to identify individuals who may be receiving prescriptions from multiple providers and may not fully realize the risks of taking multiple medications.  Access to the system is considered tightly-controlled and may not be accessed by law enforcement without going through the process of obtaining permission from the court, which is the current process for obtaining protected health information.

The Pettis County Commission and the Pettis County Health Center Board of Trustees say they view this program as an important step to address a growing public health problem, and to hopefully decrease the number of individuals bringing questionable prescriptions to the county. The release says that other states around the country who have implemented comprehensive prescription drug monitoring programs, have seen a decrease in the number of illegal prescriptions.

The Pettis County Health Center will be coordinating implementation of the program. For more information, call the Health Center at 827-1130.

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