One of the bill’s main provisions would limit the amount of an opioid drug that could be prescribed to someone for acute pain to a seven-day supply. T

The Missouri House has voted to take more steps toward fighting opioid addiction with a focus on shifting the response to addiction from law enforcement and incarceration to treatment availability.

 The main provision of the bill would create the “Improved Access to Treatment for Opioid Addictions” Program (IATOA).  It would use assistant physicians - a position created by legislation passed in 2014 - to work in a collaborative way with licensed doctors to provide addiction treatment throughout the state. The assistant physicians would be supported by the ECHO program (Extension for Community Healthcare Options) – a program that uses videoconferencing to connect experts with providers statewide to help providers offer specialized care. The sponsor said the program would be among the first of its kind in the nation, and other states are already taking note of it and considering how to create their own.

 One of the bill’s main provisions would limit the amount of an opioid drug that could be prescribed to someone for acute pain to a seven-day supply. The provision is meant to keep people from becoming addicted while not limiting such drugs to those who rely on them for long-term pain management.

 The bill would also create the Prescription Abuse Registry - a registry a person could voluntarily add himself or herself to – for individuals who have struggled with addiction. The registry would do no more than notify doctors who choose to check it that those on the list have had a substance abuse problem. A person could petition to be removed from the list five years after adding her or his name to it.

 The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Bills Headed to the Senate

  HB 1296 would establish “Toby’s Law,” which requires any person who has pled guilty to or been found guilty of driving while intoxicated to complete a victim impact program approved by the court. Supporters say a program like this could keep people from continuing to drink and drive and it could even encourage some people to get sober. Most counties already have a program like this and most judges already require it, but this bill would require all counties to have this type of program.

HCR 73 would recognize the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument at the College of the Ozarks campus in Point Lookout, Missouri, as the official Gold Star Families Memorial Monument of Missouri. It would also urge the Missouri Department of Transportation to prepare and establish appropriate highway signage to recognize the location and directions to the Missouri Gold Star Families Memorial Monument and the Missouri Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The signage would be paid for by the College of the Ozarks.

 HCR 69 was passed by the Missouri House and would urge the President of the United States to authorize a state funeral when the last of the World War II Medal of Honor Recipient dies – a great gesture.

Looking Forward

There are many legislative issues that still need to be worked on before the end of this year’s session. These include the state budget and tax legislation, which still require additional debate for the House and Senate to complete.

I also plan to hold additional hearings in the Subcommittee on Corrections Workforce Environment and Conduct. As I’ve mentioned, the goal of this subcommittee is to help ensure a safe and professional work environment for all Corrections employees. I look forward to receiving more testimony regarding our corrections system from the Department’s Director, Anne Precythe, and other employees.