Monitor opioids

June 4, 2017

Should the Ray County commissioners join the St. Louis Prescription Drug Monitoring Program?

Logically, in the name of public health, they should.

More than 80 percent of Missourians are now protected by the St. Louis County program, which tracks who buys and sells legal opioids. The program’s purpose is to make sure no one gets more addictive, potentially fatal opioids than the healthy amount doctors intend for their patients.

Commissioners could and should ask the county’s medical and pharmacy professionals to voluntarily join the pro-gram. Doing so, essentially, would commit participants to provide computerized information to a databank accessible to other medical professionals with the goal of making sure no one could use the same prescription to buy opioids in more than one location.

Technically, the commission cannot require anyone to participate. Being in a third-class county – one bound by far more state regulations than found in charter counties, such as St. Louis and Jackson counties – the commissioners do not have such authority. Their counselor, Ivan Schraeder, told them so.

But they do appear to have the authority to pass what amounts to a non-binding resolution to ask medical profession-als to join the St. Louis County program voluntarily to protect the health and welfare of Ray Countians.

Commissioners making that request would force no one to do anything.

But doing so may help in the effort to keep drugs out of the wrong hands.

And possibly save a life.

That is the most important service leaders can provide.

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