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Kansas City Council Follows Jackson County In Approving City-Wide Prescription Drug Plan

Eric Hunsaker
On Thursday, Kansas City Council members approved an ordinance to join Jackson County in establishing a prescription drug monitoring program.

Following a similar move in Jackson County, Missouri, earlier this year, Kansas City will establish a prescription drug monitoring program. 

Kansas City Council members Thursday passed an ordinance to establish a city-wide prescription drug database, a tool used to track patients who abuse painkillers and to prevent “doctor shopping” by individuals seeking prescriptions from multiple physicians.

In October, Jackson County legislators approved their own program, which excluded Kansas City and Independence, unless they agreed to sign on. Elsewhere in the state, St. Louis and St. Louis County have enacted their own plans out of frustration with the Missouri Legislature’s failure to enact a statewide plan. 

Missouri is the only state in the nation without a prescription drug database. 

Councilman Kevin McManus said was glad to vote for the ordinance, but that the city should keep pushing on the Missouri Legislature.

“While I think this is a great tool and I’m glad we’re doing it, I think we also need to continue to work with our state partners in order to get something done at the state level as well,” McManus said.

The Neighborhoods and Public Safety Committee had two hearings about the ordinance before bringing it before the full council to make sure several concerns were addressed. 

Councilman Quinton Lucas wanted to make clear this would be a tool for physicians, not for the city. 

“So that they know when people are going around and 'physician shopping' and trying to find these items that can be deleterious to not only an individual’s health, but to public health more broadly, because it’ll be sold throughout the community,” Lucas said. 

To those concerned with their privacy, Lucas pointed out that in Kansas City's ordinance, an individual would need a court order to get access to the database.

The council did not set a date for enacting the program. Members will now work with Jackson County legislators to consolidate and coordinate its implementation. 

Lisa Rodriguez is an afternoon newscaster and reporter. Connect with her on Twitter @larodrig

Slow news days are a thing of the past. As KCUR’s news director, I want to cut through the noise, provide context to the headlines, and give you news you can use in your daily life – information that will empower you to make informed decisions about your neighborhood, your city and the region. Email me at lisa@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @larodrig.
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