State Rep. Holly Rehder has pledged to prefile a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) bill for the 2020 legislative session.

Filing PDMP legislation is an annual rite for the lawmaker from Southeast Missouri. She’s been doing it for years. She believes it is a sensible and necessary policy measure to combat a real public health crisis.

The legislation will create an electronic database that collects data on controlled substance prescriptions within the state to help prevent doctor shopping and help curb the opioid epidemic that has destroyed too many Missouri families.

Maybe 2020 is the year PDMP will finally pass. Of course, that is what supporters hoped would happen this past session. By the way, those supporters include law enforcement officials, patient advocates, policy experts and members of the medical community, as well as the legislatures of 49 other states.

That’s right, Missouri has the dubious distinction of being the only state in the country without a statewide PDMP. That’s embarrassing.

Rehder’s bill passed overwhelmingly in the House this past session but died in the Senate after a group of conservative lawmakers torpedoed it over privacy concerns. Their fear is that the database could be hacked and the government would have access to the information that could somehow be used to infringe upon people’s personal liberties.

It’s possible that the database could be hacked but that hasn’t been an issue in other states. The last concern is just nonsense and a product of right-wing paranoia.

Rehder’s previous attempts at passing PDMP legislation have enjoyed consistent bipartisan support. The bill she filed this past session won the support of Gov. Parson, House Speaker Elijah Haahr, Senate Pro Tem Dave Schatz and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt.

Schatz, who has pushed for Rehder’s bill every year, is determined to get PDMP across the finish line.

He told Missourinet that he will work every year “until we get that thing accomplished.”

Schatz is right to push for PDMP. A database won’t eliminate the ability of drug abusers to acquire prescription opioids. But the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called such statewide patient monitoring databases “among the most promising state-level interventions” to improve opioid prescribing and protect at-risk patients, according to Kaiser Health News.

Being the lone state holdout on this important issue is simply ridiculous. It’s time for the Missouri Senate to take action and quit making our state look so backward on this important issue.