Missouri House approves prescription monitoring program

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Missouri House members have given initial approval to a prescription drug monitoring program.

Lawmakers debated the legislation Tuesday after House leadership spent about three weeks trying to smooth over disagreements between Republicans. It was approved 91-68.

A monitoring system is aimed at informing doctors and pharmacists when similar prescriptions were recently written or filed. Bill sponsor Rep. Holly Rehder said that system would help get painkillers off the street and decrease opiate overdoses.

House Speaker Todd Richardson supported the monitoring program, but some other Republicans called it an unconstitutional invasion of privacy. Rep. Jay Barnes said the database wouldn’t stop people determined to feed their addictions.

Missouri is the only state without a prescription drug monitoring program. The bill needs another vote to go to the Senate.