To The Herald-Whig:
The Marion County Health Department (MCHD) has been researching the opioid problem and measures that would help bring prescription opioid abuse under control. The Board of Trustees and administrator attended a webinar on the St. Louis Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), which is set up as a data collection of opioid prescriptions. It is mandatory for pharmacists who dispense to enter it in the system and voluntary for health care 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 commissioner's attorney, Ivan Schrader, for legal advice on the program.
Schrader's advice was that county health departments have no authority in regulating controlled substances. County health departments are given by statute the authority to regulate infectious, communicable 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 enter an agreement of this type.
The MCHD Board of Trustees has reviewed the situation and decided to follow advice of counsel to not pursue the ordinance. Lyndon Bode was made aware of the decision. He said he had also talked with Schrader. Bode and the other two commissioners felt that the ordinance should be put on hold.
Should the state decide to enact a statewide PDMP, counties would be bound to follow that law.
The public needs to be aware of the prescriptions they use. Opioid drugs need to be treated as you would treat your valuables. Put them where no one can reach them or can find them. Check for drug take-back programs and take your unused drugs to be destroyed. Talk to your health care 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 counties. Be aware of signs and symptoms of drug use. If you see something, report it to authorities. Have open conversations with your families and neighbors about drugs.
Contact the Marion County Health Department for information on drug abuse prevention. 573-221-1166.
Jean McBride, RN, BSN,
Administrator, ?Marion County Health Department