their state’s PDMP. As the state with the fifth-highest rate of overdose deaths, the findings showed the monitoring program continued to be the best way for pharmacists to identify those likely to develop an addiction to opioids.
Missouri is the only state that doesn’t have a PDMP in place, but recently the state Senate approved a proposal after multiple legislative attempts over the years due to privacy worries and possible data breaches. State Senator Rob Schaaf has consistently blocked and threatened to filibuster any bills entering the chamber that attempt to establish a program.
Health care providers across the country have raised concerns of their own.
A clinician in Washington, Dr. Gregory Terman, laments the time-consuming process of checking medication histories for each patient before prescribing opioids. “If the law prohibits prescribing opioids until a clinician checks the database, and access is long and laborious, it is not rocket science to hypothesize that opioid prescribing will decrease,” he stated.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also objected to the way databases can be accessed. Since PDMPs are fully state-run, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has no involvement, however, the DEA asserted that a federal statute gives them access to the records without a warrant. Because of this, the ACLU in Oregon opposed the creation of a PDMP but helped the state add privacy safeguards to its program and joined a lawsuit against the DEA. In 2014, a federal judge ruled that the DEA must obtain a warrant to access the database.