Barry County passes prescription drug monitoring program
Lessening effects of opioids on the community is the goal
Aimed at combating the opioid epidemic that is impacting individuals, families, and riddling the medical and criminal justice systems, the Barry County Health Department and Barry County Commission recently met to sign an opioid ordinance and join the St. Louis County Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.
Roger Brock, administrator for the Barry County Health Department, commented on the ordinance that was penned Thursday morning, which will provide a tool for pharmacists and doctors to access information about opioid-related prescriptions.
"We signed a prescription drug monitoring program which will allow us to partner with St. Louis County to do the program that they have," Brock said. "The pharmacist will have access to the data that St. Louis County has, to see when people last filled their scripts. The objective is to try to assist in lessening the effects of opioids on the community. It will give them a tool to help better decide whether or not a patient is filling their script too early."
According to Brock, Barry County is one out of at least 30 that have partnered with St. Louis County in an attempt to address opioid addictions and the myriad of problems that class of drugs can create.
"Multiple counties are partnering with them," Brock said. "They were the first to create a prescription drug monitoring program in the state. They have a very good model and everything in place to do the monitoring. That's why we went ahead and went with that."
The program will monitor Schedule 2, 3 and 4 prescription drugs, Brock said. Under the Controlled Substance Act, the FDA organizes pharmaceutical drugs into specific groups for their potential for physical and psychological abuse or harm.
"Opioids are all Schedule 2 drugs," said Robert Horton, pharmacist at Walmart Pharmacy in Cassville.
Opioid addiction is not isolated to criminals. It does not discriminate and can affect anyone, whether addiction is intentional or not, such as someone legitimately prescribed the drugs for pain after a surgery, or to treat chronic pain.
"That is an element [of addiction] that you hope doesn't happen — that people don't become addicted for whatever medical reason," Brock said. "This program is more aimed at trying to cut down on multiples scripts and doctor hopping. We are trying to cut down on overdoses and people being out on the streets. You hear every day someone has overdosed on opioids."
"We hope to have the program online by the early September," said Cherry Warren, Barry County presiding commissioner. "St. Louis County has a grant, which will cover the cost of the program for us for the first two years. We've had good cooperation with the pharmacies and doctors."
"I think it's definitely a good tool," Brock said. "It probably won't be the golden bullet that completely eradicates [the opioid crisis], but we anticipate it cutting down on overdoses and maybe some of the things that gets out on the street."