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Health & Science

Missouri to start drug program monitoring doctors

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ST. LOUIS (AP) - Missouri is collecting and investigating opioid prescription data through a statewide drug monitoring program to identify doctors and clinics that overprescribe painkillers.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Gov. Eric Greitens signed an executive order in July to create the program targeting what he calls "pill mills." The state began collecting opioid prescription information last month.

About 500 Missouri residents died from overdosing on prescription painkillers in 2016, an increase from 100 in 2001.

Before the new program, the Missouri Board of Registration for the Healing Arts could only act after receiving a complaint or when a doctor was charged with a crime. The state medical board didn't discipline any doctors last year for overprescribing painkillers.

Greitens still has three vacancies to fill on the nine-member board.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com