St. Charles County to have drug prescription monitoring program up and running by 2017

ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MO (KPLR) – St. Charles County leaders are taking another step in fighting prescription drug abuse. Wednesday county council approved legislation to create a monitoring program for people who buy certain prescription drugs.

The opioid epidemic is being called the worst drug crisis in American history.  A record number of people died last year from drug overdoses; a sobering fact that has lead to drugs now killing more Americans than cars.

Overdoses from prescription opioid pain relievers are a driving factor in the 15-year surge in opioid overdose deaths. Since 1999, a report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports in 1991 doctors wrote 76 million prescriptions; by 2011 that number had nearly tripled to 219 millions.  And with the increase in scripts written, there was a dramatic spike in drug overdoses from prescription pain killers.

St. Charles county leaders call their plan a historic step in fighting drug abuse.

Under the plan, those who prescribe and dispense certain prescription drugs will be required to provide information to the St. Charles County Health Department about who's getting drugs like prescription pain killers.

That information will then be added to an electronic database.

Right now Missouri is the only state without a prescription drug monitoring program, which is why some say Missouri is referred to as America’s drugstore

Authorities hope the move will help prevent what`s called doctor shopping or going to multiple doctors to get multiple prescriptions for controlled substances.

The program is set to take effect early next year.