In an effort to curtail the opioid epidemic in 2017, then-governor Eric Greitens issued a statewide order to establish a prescription drug monitoring program. Unlike programs in other states, Missouri is monitoring the physicians, and not their patients. This order has fundamentally changed the way physicians practice medicine and is causing unnecessary pain and suffering to many Missourians.
I consider myself a victim of this law. I have been waiting months to have a knee replacement. It has taken longer than usual as elective surgeries have been deferred due to the pandemic. The procedure was scheduled for Nov. 4 but was canceled at the last minute, and now the orthopedic surgeon is reluctant to provide adequate pain management for me. My surgery has been rescheduled. But it may very well be canceled again, depending on the pandemic. For me, that means months of constant pain. I don’t know how I can manage.
As a retired medical social worker, I have long advocated for my patients, and now I am doing so once again by advocating for Greitens’ executive order to be rescinded. We should monitor patients, not physicians. Physicians can recognize the difference between those who need relief and those who are abusing drugs. Let doctors practice as they are trained to do. Physicians must be allowed to provide adequate care, including pain management, for their patients.