Editorials

Hey Missouri, you know why every other state has an opioid tracking system?

By the numbers: America’s opioid crisis

Opioid addiction is a fast-growing problem in Missouri and across the country. Here is a look at some alarming statistics. Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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Opioid addiction is a fast-growing problem in Missouri and across the country. Here is a look at some alarming statistics. Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

There is a reason that every other state in the country has a statewide monitoring system for prescription opioids: The database, which is meant to keep patients from getting painkillers from multiple doctors and drugstores, saves lives.

Missouri is finally moving in the right direction, after 10 frustrating years of failing to take on this dangerous epidemic.

A bill sponsored by Republican state Rep. Holly Rehder has a real chance of passing this year, with the support of Gov. Mike Parson.

Rehder called the system a “cornerstone in the fight against the opioid epidemic” and said we “must allow our medical professionals to have this information about their patient so they can make the best decisions.”

It is a very simple, effective tool, without which doctors and pharmacists have little to go on.

Opponents worry still about privacy concerns, about reports that some states that have the system still have an opioid problem, and about whether this database would make it too difficult for those who need painkillers to get them.

Privacy concerns are valid, but anyone who has lost a loved one to addiction will tell you that it’s secondary to safety.

That the system hasn’t completely solved the problem doesn’t mean it hasn’t worked elsewhere.

And we are very far from having to worry about prescribing too few painkillers to those who need them. There might be isolated incidents of over-caution, but giving professionals the information they need is clearly the right thing to do, and we urge Missouri lawmakers to stop delaying while lives are being lost.

Better last than never.

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