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Federal Funding Awarded to Missouri to Address the Opioid Crisis

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U.S. Department of Agriculture
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The State of Missouri has been awarded a $10 million opioid crisis grant.  It’s the second year in a row the state has received the grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, who has spearheaded efforts to combat the opioid epidemic in the state praised the move.

“Opioid addiction continues to devastate families and communities across Missouri—but we’re also seeing addiction and prevention treatment programs chip away at an epidemic that at times has felt unstoppable,” McCaskill said in a news release. “These new resources will go a long way in continuing to combat this crisis and give tools to the folks on the front lines by expanding treatment access to families who need it most, reducing overdose deaths, and cutting down on overprescriptions.”

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Senior Services, Education and Related Agencies, helped secure the funding.  He said drug overdose deaths have surpassed motor vehicle accidents as the number one accidental cause of death in Missouri.  According to Blunt, the grant will provide additional resources to expand and improve treatment and prevention services.

Blunt secured funding for the opioid crisis grant program in this year’s government funding bill, which was enacted last month.  The program was authorized under the 21st Century Cures Act, which McCaskill also supported.

According to a news release from the senator’s office, Blunt’s bill provided an additional $1 billion for a new state opioid response grant program, which the Department of Health and Human Services is expected to announce in the coming months.

McCaskill is currently engaged in what her office calls "the most comprehensive Congressional investigation into the opioid crisis to date last year, requesting documents from opioid manufacturers and distributors."  In September 2017, McCaskill announced the first round of findings, detailing systemic manipulation of the prior authorization process by Insys Therapeutics. McCaskill’s latest report, issued earlier this year, describes how manufacturers of opioids have made significant financial investments into third party organizations—groups which in turn have often engaged in pro-opioid advocacy.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.