Missouri could adopt a prescription drug database along the lines of the one Jackson County and other local governments recently adopted. All other states have one as a means of controlling abuse of opioids such as Oxycodone.
“That may make some progress this year,” said state Rep. Mike Cierpiot, R-Lee’s Summit and the majority floor leader in the Missouri House of Representatives.
The Missouri House has passed a bill to create a database, and state Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit, said Friday he thinks the Senate will pass it as well. A key senator has dropped his long opposition to the idea, and Kraus said he thinks that senator’s one condition – that doctors be required to use the system – will make it into the final bill.
A database would let a doctor see all the medications that a patient is getting through other doctors and, advocates argue, cut down on users’ habit of doctor shopping to get more drugs.
Jackson County officials, expressing frustration at Missouri General Assembly’s inaction for years, recently joined other counties as well as Independence and Kansas City to start their own database. Those counties account for about 40 percent of the state’s population.
Jackson County has an estimated 26,000 opioid addicts, and a database would cut that by about 5 percent, according to Dr. Sarah Martin-Anderson, professor of health services administration at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and manager of community engagement, policy and accountability with the Kansas City Health Department. She addressed county legislators when they debated the issue last fall.
Legislators adjourn in another five weeks. They have to pass the 2018 state budget and have other issues that area legislators touched on Friday at a Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce legislative update.
A question that consistently comes up from attending chamber members is about Missouri adopting the federal “Real ID” rules passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Those rules make it harder to forge drivers licenses, but opponents have said the program put too much personal information -- potentially hackable -- in the hands of the federal government. Missouri and a handful of other states have held out against Real ID, but starting January a Missouri drivers licenses won’t be enough to get on a commercial flight unless the state complies.
Kraus has been one of those opponents. The House has passed a bill this year, but the Senate has not acted.
“The Senate bill isn’t moving right now. … My discussions with the Senate sponsor (Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City) have stalled,” he said.
Kraus wouldn’t go beyond that but, pressed for a thought on where the legislation is likely to go, he said with a smile, “It’ll be a debate.”
Also, Rep. Dan Stacy, R-Blue Springs, has a bill to change voting.
He says a candidate winning with less than a majority weakens democracy. He pointed to the example of this week’s Blue Springs City Council election in which three candidates each got more than 30 percent of the vote and the winner, Jerry Kaylor in District 1, got only 35 percent.
“To me, that is a travesty that we can elect someone with less than 50 percent of the vote,” Stacy said.
His solution is what’s called an instant run-off, or ranked-choice voting. Instead of choosing one of, say, four candidates, voters would vote one through four. Votes are tallied, and if no one has a majority, the bottom candidate drops out. Votes are tallied again among the remaining candidates. This goes until someone has a majority.
“It needs to be in place,” Stacy said. “We need to strengthen our government.”
A House committee had a hearing on the bill last month, but it is not listed on the House calendar for action soon.