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Springfield-Greene County Health Department News Releases

Posted on: July 10, 2017

July 10, 2017 - Prescription Drug Monitoring Program before City Council tonight

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PDMP designed to combat opioid epidemic

A proposed ordinance to implement a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program will be presented tonight to City Council in an effort to combat the growing opioid epidemic in our community.

Missouri is the only state in the country that does not currently have a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). A PDMP is a secure electronic database that tracks the filling and dispensing of prescription drugs to better inform prescribers and pharmacists of potential abuse. The most common tactic pointing to opioid abuse is so-called “doctor shopping,” going from doctor to doctor to receive opioid medications. Prescription medications like oxycodone and hydrocodone are considered opioids, as is heroin.

Springfield is currently positioned to join a largely state-wide effort to receive a federal grant to implement a PDMP. The grant covers the cost of such a program for the first two years. City Council has already approved applying for the grant alongside other state-wide partners. To implement a PDMP, an ordinance has to be passed.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department and the Healthy Living Alliance strongly recommend the implementation of a community PDMP as the first step in combating the growing opioid epidemic. Since 1999, overdose deaths in the U.S. have quadrupled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Locally, Greene County opioid overdoses have similarly grown, from a rate of 8.6 deaths per 100,000 in 2000 to 31.6 deaths per 100,000 for the latest data available, in 2015.

Many organizations in the Springfield area have noticed the growing opioid abuse epidemic. In June, City Council’s Community Involvement Committee heard a panel discussion on the topic. The panel included representatives from CoxHealth, Mercy, Springfield Public Schools, Springfield Police Department, Springfield Fire Department and Community Partnership of the Ozarks. All had stories of the impact their organizations have seen from a growing problem of opioid addiction.

“It’s just really completely changed the practice of medicine, particularly in the Emergency Department,” Dr. Howard Jarvis of CoxHealth shared at the June 6 meeting.

He said patients across the board have suffered, both drug seekers who are put through unnecessary tests in their efforts to get pain medication, as well as patients who do in fact have health issues, but can be viewed with skepticism because of this epidemic.

Dr. Jarvis said between the first quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2017, the use of overdose-reversing drugs for opioid abuse has increased by 120 percent within CoxHealth systems.

Chief David Pennington from the Springfield Fire Department said his department’s first responders have seen growing number of patients with opioid abuse issues.

“There’s no one demographic and no one district, we see this across the city,” Pennington said.

The Health Department held a workshop with pharmacists in Greene County to outline the process and address any concerns on June 26. Attendees overwhelmingly supported the push for a PDMP. 

The Healthy Living Alliance, an organization aimed to make healthier living a priority in Springfield by bringing together representatives from local business, government, nonprofit and health care industries, is focused on improving community health through systems and policy change.

 For more information, contact Springfield-Greene County Health Department Public Information Administrator Kathryn Wall at 417-874-1205 or

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