SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Springfield doctors are applauding Gov. Eric Greitens (R-MO) budget proposal for the nearly $6 million in additional spending allocated towards fighting the opioid epidemic.
PHOTO: Opioid Pills, Photo Date: 2/14/2015
$374,000 of that total would go towards implementing a statewide prescription drug monitoring database to help doctors see what their patients have been prescribed in other locations.
“[CoxHealth] has about a 20 county service area here,” Dr. bryan Finke said. “I can see our patients’ drugs just in Greene County. We're falling short there, and it needs more money.”
Gov. Greitens signed an executive order to create the program last year. So far, only the St. Louis and Kansas City metro areas plus Greene County are on board.
“It's easily exploitable unless you have all of our counties in the database,” Dr. Finke said.
Doctors believe that ending the opioid epidemic starts with prescribing fewer habit-forming painkillers to patients. Morphine could become a gateway drug to heroin if abused.
“The opioids we're seeing in Missouri now... are extremely potent,” Dr. Finke said. “Just touching a white powder to a nose, or near your nose, could kill you. So, now when we have to send a highway patrol or police force or first responders like paramedics into houses they have to have full protection gear because inhaling a powder they can't even see could be fatal.”
$4.7 million of Gov. Greitens’ proposed budget would go to “peer recovery coaches in hospital emergency departments and faith and community recovery support services,” according to the Governor’s proposal summary.
An additional $731,154 would go to first responder training and preparedness - including the antidote Narcan.
Finally, $750,000 would be set aside for, “entities providing programs that educate or promote medication safety or that suppress or prevent prescription drug misuse, abuse, and diversion.”