My Vision for Progress: Battling the Opioid Crisis

In 2017, opioids killed over 950 Missourians, according to the National Institutes of Health, which is higher than the national average.  Likewise, Missourians were prescribed powerful, dangerous opioids at a rate of 71.8 per 100 persons, compared to the national average of 58.7 per 100 persons.  These stats demonstrate Missouri has an opioid problem. Yet, our lawmakers have done little to address it.

Missouri is the only state (including U.S. territories) without a prescription drug monitoring program (also known as a “PDMP”), despite the fact that the Centers for Disease Control credit PDMPs as among “the most promising state-level interventions” in the opioid epidemic. And while the Missouri House of Representatives passed a PDMP last session, a handful of Senators ensured its failure.  Conservatives in the General Assembly have long lamented that a PDMP will raise privacy concerns, and they tied such concerns to crackpot conspiracy theories. Conservatives held up the REAL ID law for years over similar privacy concerns, but ultimately buckled to pressure from airport travelers. Not having a REAL ID compliant drivers’ license would have caused airport travelers a headache, not having a PDMP kills Missourians. 

As an attorney, I devote my days to holding Big Pharma accountable for their deceptive and coercive actions that resulted in the opioid epidemic.  I have seen time and time again how prioritizing profit over people has destroyed lives and communities. From this experience, I have the drive and passion to fight for the safety and betterment of Missourians.  As your state representative, I will co-sponsor a new effort to bring a PDMP to Missouri, and I will reach across the aisle and across legislative chambers to ensure its passage. Beyond the PDMP, I will fight for increased healthcare benefits for Missourians, such as expanding Medicaid, to improve treatment and preventative health options.  

It’s time to stop focusing on Big Pharma money and start focusing on our residents’ health and welfare.