St. Louis area sees opioid overprescribing during monitoring

ST. LOUIS – A drug-monitoring program that began a year ago has since found overprescribing of opioid painkillers in the St. Louis area.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that St. Louis County’s program launched last year to track prescriptions of opioid painkillers, muscle relaxants and other legal drugs with a potential for abuse. More than 6,600 doctors and pharmacists are registered to access the database of patients’ prescription drug histories, but county officials say that’s fewer than half practicing statewide.

The program has flagged nearly 14,000 instances in which someone filled three different prescriptions at three different pharmacies in a span of six months. Officials say the alerts indicate possible doctor shopping and drug abuse.

Missouri was the last state to begin a drug monitoring program aimed at the opioid epidemic.