Should Missouri have a drug registry?

Sales of prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999. And so have overdose deaths involving prescription opioids. In 2014, more than 14,000 people died from overdoses involving prescription opioids, bringing the total from 1999 to 2014 to more than 165,000 deaths in the U.S. from overdoses related to prescription opioids.

Forty-nine states have prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP) or registries. Missouri is the lone holdout to adopting such a system.

On September 20, at The Painful Truth, its first Dinner at the Square of the 2016-2017 season, American Public Square will look at the issue of opioid use and abuse and whether Missouri should implement a PDMP.

American Public Square is about bringing together people with opinions across the spectrum to have a civil, fact-based conversation about controversial topics. At our events, people share a meal and then listen to a panel with differing perspectives discuss the issue and answer questions from the audience and the moderator. We have fact checkers on hand to confirm or dispute statements by the panelists and, if the conversation becomes less than civil, we ring the “civility bell.”

Representative Holly Rehder, Senator Rob Schaaf, Myra Christopher and Sherry Green will join moderator Nick Haines to talk about the issue. Holly Rehder has experienced the trauma of family members who abused drugs and for the past three years has tried, unsuccessfully, to pass legislation to establish a PDMP in Missouri. Rob Schaaf, a physician, has raised privacy concerns about a PDMP and successfully filibustered 2016 legislation to establish one in Missouri.

Myra Christopher, Center for Practical Bioethics, is a recognized authority on pain treatment and an outspoken advocate of people in chronic pain. She raises concerns that people with a legitimate need for pain treatment will be denied opioids because others have addictions. Sherry Green, a lawyer, is the President of the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws and is an expert in PDMP laws.

Holly, Rob, Myra and Sherry and moderator Nick Haines of KCPT will come together to talk about the issues and answer questions from the audience with the evening’s roving reporter, KCUR senior producer Stephen Steigman. Join American Public Square and Health Forward on September 20 to have a civil, fact-based conversation about this controversial issue.

For more information about The Painful Truth and other American Public Square programs visit


Myra Christopher

Myra ChristopherI don’t want to sound like I’m pushing opioids. I’m not. But to deny (opioids to) people in pain because there’s an addiction problem is cruel and wrongheaded.

Sherry Green

sherryGreen“Pharmacists in Missouri are reporting that people come from other states to get those prescriptions filled there, and there is more criminal activity on the borders with those other states.”

Holly Rehder

HollyRehder“When the drugs take over, it completely changes everything. We have got to start looking at this differently. We have got to start realizing that this isn’t something we can close our eyes and turn our head because it’s not going to affect us. It’s affecting us.”

Rob Schaaf

RobSchaaf“It is wrong to take away the liberty of every law-abiding citizen to stop a very few from breaking the law, especially when they are putting their own lives at risk by doing so.” 

Health Forward is a proud sponsor of The Painful Truth, and we encourage you to attend

Health Reform, Policy

One thought on “Should Missouri have a drug registry?

    Is there nothing between “taking away the liberty of every law-abiding citizen” and thoughtfully implementing a better monitoring program? This sounds like the same argument that runs round and round regarding gun control laws. I am NOT in favor of all out big government restrictions, but I am also not in favor of sticking our collective heads in the sand either.

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