KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson voiced his support for a statewide drug monitoring program Thursday during a visit to Truman Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri.
Currently, Missouri is the only state that does not have a tracking system for doctors to see if patients are abusing prescription medication. One in 65 people in Missouri die from a prescription drug overdose.
"What comes with opioid addition is a tolerance," Dr. Stephen Thornton at the University of Kansas Health System said in an interview last year. "You have to take more of it to get the same effect."
The opioid problem is a national crisis, but Kansas and Missouri aren't immune. Prescription drugs aren't the only source of the problem, but doctor-prescribed pain killers, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, are a big part it.
"We have an extremely high death rate in this state not to do anything about that when we have the ability to give them the tools to give it a fighting chance," Parson said.
Kansas passed legislation to create a tracking system for prescription drugs in 2008. It allows doctors to see if people are being over prescribed or abusing drugs via an online portal.
"Person comes in, there is something not right with their story, you look them up on the tracking system and they were at another emergency room like yesterday and got x amount," Thornton said.
Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens created a tracking system for state officials, but some medical professionals said that didn't go far enough.
Parson wants legislation to create a statewide system for doctors in an effort to help save lives.
"We are the only state that doesn’t do that," Parson said. "Because of my law enforcement career, law enforcement needs the tools to do their jobs. Professionals need to be able to do their job. Hopefully, that is something we can push forward and get legislation to my desk."