Missouri Launches a Prescription Drug Database to Help Doctors Spot Opioid Addictions

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri on Wednesday launched a statewide database of opioid prescriptions aimed at helping doctors identify possible addiction.

Under the program, pharmacists now must report when they provide drugs listed as controlled substances. The information is collected in a database that doctors and other pharmacists can check to see if patients have been receiving opioids from multiple providers.

Prescription information in the database can only be used for patient care and cannot be shared with law enforcement.

The Missouri Legislature in 2021 passed a law creating the program after years of resistance from a small number of skeptical lawmakers who raised concerns about sensitive patient data being misused.

Missouri was the last state to adopt such a database statewide.

Most Missouri health care providers had already been sharing controlled substance information with a St. Louis County database following local buy-in from 75 cities and other municipalities.

Advocates argued that a more expansive program would give lawmakers greater oversight and prevent people from loading up on painkillers in uncovered areas.

The St. Louis County database now will be absorbed into the statewide system.