St. Louis County passes prescription drug monitoring program

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CLAYTON, MO (KPLR) - The St. Louis County Council passed a bill to create a prescription drug monitoring program Tuesday night.

Now doctors and pharmacist in St. Louis County will soon be able to access a database showing what medications a person has been prescribed.

County Executive Steve Stenger said for too long Missouri has made it easy for people to become addicted to prescription drugs. An addiction that he said often leads to heroin use.

"What we have found through statistical analysis is that 4 out of 5 heroin users use opioids drugs as a gateway drug," said Stenger.

Right now 49 states have statewide prescription drug monitoring systems. Missouri is the only place that does not.

Chad Sabora works with heroin addicts and said because of this Missouri is the prescription drug trafficking hub of the United States.

"Because we don’t have computers talking to each other it is well known in the underground to bring prescriptions here to Missouri to get filled here and distribute throughout the country," said Sabora.

Stenger said the county council is tired of waiting for the state to fix this problem.

"What we have seen is that our family members are dying, people that we know are drying, our loved ones are dying and it has gone on far too long and 12 years is just far too long to debate a bill," said Stenger.

The county’s prescription drug monitoring program will allow other jurisdictions to share the county’s database system and communicate with system already in place in Illinois.

Stenger said it should take about six months to get the database up and running.

People living in the county do not have to do or change anything for the new system all of the paperwork is done by doctors and pharmacists.