opioid

A budget proposal to fund two additional investigators for a statewide prescription drug monitoring program is in limbo as some Missouri state senators still oppose the effort to respond to an increase in drug overdose deaths in the state.

Missouri remains the only state in the nation without a program that allows doctors or pharmacists to track a patient's prescription history, despite being among the 20 worst states for drug overdose deaths.

Missouri House Advancing Bill on Opioid Crisis

Apr 2, 2018

The Missouri House is advancing a bill aimed at fighting the opioid crisis with drug take-back programs and limits on prescriptions.

The proposal would limit initial painkiller prescriptions to seven-day supplies for acute pain. Cancer and hospice patients would be exempt, and doctors could write longer prescriptions if they deem it necessary.

In 2016 nearly 600 Missouri babies were born addicted to drugs. The condition, know as neonatal abstinence syndrome, has spiked in the state increasing by 538 percent between 2006 and 2016.  

 

The KBIA Health & Wealth Desk will be exploring those numbers throughout the year, along with work being done to address the issue. Reporter Bram Sable-Smith recently spoke with one organization, Project WIN, that provides behavioral health services including addiction counseling to pregnant and postpartum women in the Missouri Bootheel. Brooke Burlison is the project manager. 

 

 


Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

A doctor handed Melissa Morris her first opioid prescription when she was 20 years-old. She had a cesarean section to deliver her daughter, and to relieve post-surgical pain her doctor sent her home with Percocet. On an empty stomach, she took one pill and laid down on her bed.

“I remember thinking to myself, ‘Oh my god. Is this legal? How can this feel so good?’” Morris recalls.

Deana Kilpatrick smoked crack for the first time when she was 13 years old. “From there,” she says, “I really just spiraled down hill.”

For the next 30 years, drugs and alcohol were part of her life. Then last November, at the age of 43, she moved to Branson, Missouri looking for a new start. It was going pretty well until loneliness drove her to relapse a few months ago. She got a fourth DWI and faced up to four years in jail.


Eric Peters / U.S. Department of Agriculture

There's been a national spike in the number of deaths from opioid drug overdoses over the past 15 years and some of the biggest increases have come in the Midwest. Missouri is no exception and also holds the distinction of being the only state without a prescription drug monitoring database—a common tool for preventing abuse.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack head's the nation's initiative on rural opioid addiction. On Friday, Vilsack and U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill will host a town hall meeting in Columbia to discuss the epidemic with media and invited guests. 

KBIA spoke with Secretary Vilsack earlier this week. 

Claire McCaskill
Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Missouri's U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is planning a hearing this week on the growing abuse of heroin and prescription painkillers. 

Several years ago, Missouri State Representative Holly Rehder’s daughter struggled with prescription drug abuse. “She had cut her thumb at work and went and got stitches and got a prescription,” Rehder recalls. When her prescription ran out she continued using the pain killers, says Rehder, “because they were so easy to obtain.”

Now, Rehder is sponsoring a bill to make it harder for addicts to obtain drugs in Missouri.