COLE COUNTY, Mo. - Cole County Commissioners passed an ordinance Tuesday approving a prescription drug monitoring program in the county.
But since all pharmacies in Cole County are in Jefferson City limits, the city must pass a similar measure for the program to go into full effect.
Stacy Welling, the president of Whaley's Pharmacy, Inc. in Jefferson City, said it is not uncommon for her pharmacies to encounter prescription drug fraud.
"On the pharmacy side of things, we see everything from fraudulent prescriptions to purchasers of prescriptions moving from doctor to doctor and pharmacy to pharmacy to obtain these kind of prescriptions, whether it's for self abuse or if it's for distribution on the streets," Welling said.
Right now, Missouri is the only state in the country without a prescription drug monitoring program.
Because of this, Welling said many people are coming from out of state to fill prescriptions.
"They're looking at it as kind of an open target to come into the state to get those prescriptions filled," Welling said. "And more and more pharmacies are denying those fills by not receiving out-of-state prescriptions and those kind of things, but it really puts us in a difficult position."
Multiple state lawmakers have tried and failed to pass a PDMP the last several years.
Without state legislation, seven other counties or cities in Missouri have enacted PDMPs on their own, including Kansas City, St. Louis City and St. Louis County.
"We got interested when St. Louis County started taking the lead and we realized that for us to join was going to be a very nominal cost, but we'd get a great benefit from it," said Kristi Campbell, director of the Cole County Health Department.
The program will cost the county about $2,600 a the first year and about $3,300 a year after that, making the program free to all pharmacists, doctors and dispensers, according to Campbell.
Jefferson City's public safety committee looked into a PDMP last week, but decided to wait and see what action county commissioners would take.
City staff are now looking at what steps to take moving forward, according to City Administrator Steve Crowell.
The City of Columbia is also currently working on a similar measure to pass a prescription drug monitoring program.