Dear Editor,

The Marion County Health Department has been researching the opioid problem and measures that would help in bringing at least the prescription opioids under control. 

The Board of Trustees and Administrator attended a webinar on the St. Louis Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). This program is set up as a data collection of opioid prescriptions (Schedule II, III and IV). It is mandatory for pharmacists who dispense to enter it in the system and voluntary for healthcare providers who prescribe to view it before they order opioids.

It is based out of St. Louis County and offers other counties the opportunity to buy into it. The county must adopt an ordinance to allow the system to function within its own county. Per agreement with the Marion County Commissioners, MCHD contacted the commissioners’ attorney, Ivan Schrader, for legal advice on an ordinance and the PDMP.

Mr. Schrader’s legal advice was that the county health departments have no authority in regulation of controlled substances. County health departments work under statute 192.300 with gives the authority to regulate infectious disease, communicable disease and other related diseases. As St. Louis County is a Charter County (can make laws) and Marion County is a level 3 (cannot make laws), it has been advised that MCHD cannot legally go into an agreement of this type.

The MCHD Board of Trustees has thoroughly reviewed the situation and has decided to follow legal advice of counsel to not pursue the ordinance at this time. Lyndon Bode was made award of the board’s decision. He stated that he had also talked with attorney Ivan Schrader. Lyndon stated he had discussed this with the other two commissioners and they also felt that at this time the ordinance should be put on hold.

The Governor signed an executive order for a state-wide PDMP, that has been in effect since last November. If the State of Missouri decides to vote a state-wide PDMP into law, counties can follow the state law.

The public needs to be aware of the prescriptions they use. Opioid drugs need to be treated as you would treat your valuables. Don’t leave them setting around, don’t keep them in your medicine cabinet. Put them where no one can reach them or can find them. Know how many you have, keep track of your bottles. Check for drug take back programs and take your unused drugs to them to be destroyed. Talk to your healthcare provider about options to opioid prescriptions.

This is only the prescription side of the opioid problem we are facing. There are illegal opioid drugs coming into our county. Be aware of signs and symptoms of drug use. If you see something, report it to your local authorities. Have open conversations with your loved ones and your neighbors about drugs. There are many steps in eliminating the opioid problem.

Contact the Marion County Health Department for information on drug abuse prevention, 573-221-1166.

Jean McBride RN, BSN

Administrator

Marion County Health

Department