Days left in fight for Missouri opioid tracking bill

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Lawmakers are still trying to make Missouri the final state to adopt a prescription medication database to fight the opioid epidemic as their Friday deadline to pass bills approaches.

The state House voted Monday against changes that state senators had made to the bill and instead opted to send negotiators to hash out policy differences with the Senate.

Supporters of databases that track prescriptions for addictive drugs argue they can help doctors identify and treat patients struggling with opioid misuse, as well as prevent accidental deadly medication interactions among patients with multiple doctors.

Bill sponsor Rep. Holly Rehder, a Republican, spoke Monday about the childhood sexual abuse her mother and sister had suffered and their subsequent addictions to legally prescribed medications. Rehder asked fellow lawmakers for their support.

“My hope is that you’ve listened to each story on how they initially came to use these powerful medications and realize that you or I may very well have responded in the same manner if we had been in their shoes,” Rehder said to colleagues on the House floor.

Critics question the effectiveness of such a program in stopping addiction and have raised concern about the potential for private medical information to end up in the wrong hands.

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