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To combat opioid crisis, Missouri governor creates prescription drug monitoring program

July 21, 2017

By Kimber Solana

Jefferson City, Mo. — Through an executive order signed July 17, Gov. Eric Greitens of Missouri directed the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services to create a prescription drug monitoring program — an effort to combat the opioid crisis.

The executive order makes Missouri the final state in the country to create a system to monitor prescription drug activity.

“We need to be honest and clear about the scale of what we are up against: Opioids are a modern plague,” Gov. Greitens said in a news release. “Like the plague, opioids kill the young, the old, the healthy, the sick, the virtuous and the sinful.”

“There is no single program, or law, or executive order than can fix this crisis. This program is a step — and it’s a big step.”

Through the program and partnerships with private sector leaders, the state will be able to monitor prescribers and dispensers to find and eliminate bad actors in the system, according to the news release.

The American Dental Association has adopted a multitiered policy on opioids. During last year’s annual meeting, the ADA House of Delegates passed Resolution 64H-2016 which encouraged dentists to register with and utilize prescription drug monitoring programs.

The July 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association included a study that found dentists in all states except Missouri can query their state’s prescription drug monitoring program to inform their opioid prescribing decisions and potentially guard against the risk for unintentional overdoses or patient drug diversions. Researchers in South Carolina found that one of five patients receiving opioid prescriptions from their dentists had at least one preexisting opioid prescription from various providers.

Missouri’s prescription drug monitoring program will utilize data from private sector partners to specifically target “pill mills” that pump out prescription drugs at dangerous and unlawful levels. In addition, it enables the Department of Health and Senior Services to better inform doctors, nurses, pharmacists, other health care providers and patients and their families about the best practices in pain management to decrease over prescriptions of opioids.

According to the executive order, more than 900 Missourians died from opioid overdose in 2016.

Gov. Greiten’s executive order came on the same day that ADA President Gary L. Roberts and Executive Director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin urged the Food and Drug Administration to better address the nuances of managing dental pain in its opioid prescriber education and training programs.

For more information about the ADA’s advocacy efforts with opioids education, visit