Jasper County officials took another step on Tuesday toward joining a prescription drug monitoring program hosted by St. Louis County.

Jasper County officials took another step on Tuesday toward joining a prescription drug monitoring program hosted by St. Louis County.
The Jasper County Commissioners approved a user agreement with the St. Louis County Health Department to join their monitoring program, which lets doctors and pharmacists know when someone is obtaining more than a reasonable amount of addictive pain killers, known as opioids.
Associate County Commissioners Tom Flanigan and Darieus Adams votes for the agreement and Presiding Commissioner John Bartosh was absent
Two weeks ago, the commissioners adopted an ordinance authorizing the county to join St. Louis County's program.
Jasper County Health Department Director Tony Moehr said the user agreement is the next step in the process and adopting it now will mean St. Louis County officials can start recruiting Jasper County physicians and pharmacists to join.
Missouri is the only state in the U.S. that has not adopted a state-wide plan to monitor prescription drug purchases by legislative action.
Joplin had to adopt its own ordinance and user agreement because both major hospitals and some physicians offices and pharmacies are in the Newton County part of Joplin, and Newton County hasn't joined the program.
The St. Louis County Health Department has set up a program and offered other counties across the state the chance to join for a fee.
Moehr said the only detail that has to be worked out is how the fee to join will be shared between Jasper County and the city of Joplin.
Moehr said the total cost per year to join St. Louis County's program will be about $5,200 with an additional $320 for Joplin to pay for the Newton County portion of the city.
Moehr said Jasper County and the city will need to decide how to divvy up that cost for the purposes of the agreement with St. Louis County, but neither the city nor the county will end up paying anything for at least the first two years of the agreement.
He said St. Louis County has obtained a federal grant to pay the costs for all counties that want to join the program. The grant lasts until September 2019 and will likely be renewed, Moehr said.
The program will give doctors and pharmacists access to a database that shows how much of certain opioid pain killers an individual has purchased and when that person purchased those drugs.
If someone is traveling from pharmacy to pharmacy or doctor to doctor, trying to get more prescriptions or more of the drugs than they need, the database flags that person and lets the pharmacists know so they can decline to sell additional drugs.
The agreement does not give law enforcement officers access to the program.
Police or sheriff's investigators would have to get a warrant to access information from the database.