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Opioid Prosecution - KOAM TV 7

Opioid Prosecution

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     Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, today signed an executive order to create a prescription drug monitoring program.
     Missouri has been the only state in the nation without one.
     It's the latest in an effort to combat opioid abuse.
     *Another* bill would allow pharmacies to provide needed medication during an overdose.
     But some say *it* was rushed.
Governor Eric Greitens says he's taking action on the opioid epidemic in the state -- which he describes as a "plague".
A recent bill signed into law allows the Department of Health and Senior Services to issue a "standing order" statewide -- that would have pharmacists keep opioid overdose medication on hand no prescription needed.
The manager at the Medicine Shoppe in Joplin says the law is incomplete.
Forbus: "When the governor signed the legislation into effect and said that the department is going to handle the protocol, who's going to write the protocol?  How's it going to be disseminated?  How are pharmacies going to sign up for it?"
A "protocol" is when a physician gives pharmacists permission to administer or give away a specific medication...like a flu shot.
But Forbus says there's no "physician" selected to create a "protocol" for the entire state.
Forbus: "I think that the general overall idea is a good idea, now, I think they're kinda passing the buck when it comes to initiating the program and how it's going to be run, and who's it going to be run by."
The same bill helps those seeking emergency help during an overdose -- to do so without fear of prosecution.
we spoke with local authorities about possible upticks in usage -- if there's no fear of repercussion.
Duncan: "We feel that, people that are already using drugs they already know they're breaking the law and doing things they shouldn't be doing that are harmful to themselves and others, this just gives an avenue for those people who hit a point that they really need help, whether for themselves or someone else, they can make that call with less fear of getting in trouble."
One thing that both pharmacies and law enforcement officials agree on -- the law does have some beneficial properties, however, pharmacists say there could be some unforeseen complications.
Forbus: "Right now the medication that is needed to reverse an overdose is on back order, and we can only intermittently get the medication, so, accessibility is going to be a huge factor."
     Joplin Police have responded to more than 100 overdose calls this year.

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Chris Warner
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A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

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