Columbia City Council votes to join prescription drug database

Columbia will establish a prescription drug monitoring program, joining an existing database in St. Louis County, in an effort to address drug-related problems, including opioid addiction.

Columbia City Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve the ordinance that establishes the monitoring program. The city will enter into an agreement with St. Louis County, which has already created a prescription drug monitoring database managed by Appriss, Inc. that many other Missouri cities and counties have already joined including Kansas City, Independence, St. Charles County and Jefferson City, which voted to join earlier Monday.

The program will monitor schedule II through IV drugs, specifically opioid painkillers. The database catalogs information from doctors and pharmacists to track the prescribing of drugs and prevent “doctor shopping” — when people attempt to obtain narcotics from multiple doctors and pharmacists.

Only prescribers and dispensers will have full access to the database, while the health department will receive routine reports on prescribing practices. Law enforcement and judicial officials can access the information by court order only, when necessary.

Joining the database will cost the city $26,443.41 for the first two years — prorated for 2017, and the full 2018 year. Costs will be $15,110.52 for each following year. St. Louis County is applying for federal funding through the Federal Bureau of Justice, and the full costs for the first two years could be covered if the application is approved, said Health Department Director Stephanie Browning.

Missouri is the only state without a database of its own, as bills to create a statewide database have failed in the legislature the past two years.

Read more: Columbia Missourian


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