Missouri is the only state in America without Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs), which may have caused a significant increase in prescription drug abuse and related cases in the Northwest region.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), PDMPs are state-run electronic databases used to track the prescribing and dispensing of controlled prescription drugs to patients. The program was designed to help monitor and control information related to suspected abuse of prescription drugs.

However, Missouri is the only state to not adopt the program and, as a result, the amount of drug related crimes have spiked. People from across the country have come to Maryville in attempts to fill their fraudulent prescriptions, Nodaway County Sheriff Randy Strong said.

“About two years ago, we had a group of people who came up from Florida just to try and fill their prescriptions,” Strong said. “It’s not really the doctors or the pharmacies who are at fault either; it is just that we have no way to monitor and track who has had multiple prescriptions filled.”

Without a monitoring system, it is easy for people to be able to purchase highly addictive opioids. According to the CDC, in the last three years there have been 3,158 deaths due to overdosing on opioids.

There are no plans to implement a drug monitoring system in Missouri, though it has been brought up to local legislators multiple times.

These are not victimless crimes either, Strong and the sheriff’s department have noticed a rise in crime across the Maryville community.

“The people become addicted to prescriptions and are working to try and find money and a way to get their next fix,” Strong said. “This has caused a noticeable rise in theft in the Maryville community, because they are just thinking about where they are going to get the money to buy the drugs.”

Director of Maryville Public Safety Keith Wood encourages citizens to take part in the Drug Take-Back program hosted by Public Safety and the Nodaway County Sheriff’s Department. This event allows people to drop off their old prescriptions to be disposed of properly.

“We have the annual Drug Take-Back Program, which allows citizens to drop off their old prescriptions to be disposed of,” Wood said. “We encourage everyone to participate in this. I believe our last drop off gathered about 100 pounds of prescriptions.”

For Wood, the best thing anyone can do is to simply make sure all medication is put away where only those the medication is prescribed to can access them.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance abuse problem, both University Wellness Services and St. Francis Hospital offer drug abuse programs open to the public.

By Katie Stevenson | Northwest Missourian