Missouri lawmakers on Monday proposed a sweeping package of measures to curb the state’s opioid crisis, including a proposal to require pharmacies to keep their inventory clean.
The proposal comes as Missouri and other states are scrambling to address the opioid crisis that has resulted in thousands of overdose deaths and hundreds of overdose-related deaths.
“We’ve been through a lot of difficult times over the last two decades, and I think we’re just not doing our part,” Missouri House Speaker Joe Schuette, a Republican, said in a speech at the chamber Monday morning.
“It’s time for us to get back to working and making sure we get to our goal of getting better.”
The Missouri measure would require pharmacists to keep prescriptions for up to one year in a drug-dispensing bag and would also require pharmacies and hospitals to have safe and sanitary facilities.
The proposed legislation would also set aside $10 million over three years for community treatment and prevention efforts.
Schuette also proposed legislation that would establish a statewide task force on opioid abuse, and would direct $10 billion over five years toward expanding and expanding addiction treatment programs.
The House bill passed by a voice vote on Monday and is scheduled to be heard by the full House on Tuesday.
The Senate will also take up the legislation on Tuesday and send it to the governor.
The Missouri governor’s office said it is reviewing the proposed legislation.
Missouri has the highest number of overdose fatalities in the country.
The bill also calls for the creation of an emergency task force, which would be charged with identifying and responding to emerging issues with the opioid epidemic.
The task force would also be charged to advise the governor on the development of strategies to reduce the epidemic.
The bills’ sponsors include Rep. John Barrow of Ponderosa, a Democrat from the St. Louis suburb of Poteet, who said in the speech Monday that the epidemic has “put the state in a bind.”
Barrow said he is hopeful the governor will sign the legislation.
In addition to the Missouri measure, lawmakers in Arkansas have also passed legislation to tighten up state drug laws.
Arkansas is the second state to consider a similar bill to impose tougher penalties on drug offenders.
The Arkansas bill requires the state to collect $3,000 from every drug offender who violates an order to attend treatment.
If the money isn’t paid within 90 days, the offender would face a maximum of three years in prison.
The measures in Missouri and Arkansas are similar to measures introduced last year by Rep. Todd Larkin, a GOP member of the Missouri House.
Larkin also proposed an increase in the state sales tax from 7 to 8 percent.
He said the bills will be the first steps in a nationwide effort to address what he called a national epidemic.
“The fact that we are here right now in the middle of this crisis shows the seriousness of the situation and how much of a burden it is on families, on communities and on our economy,” Larkin said.
The opioid epidemic has prompted President Donald Trump to push for stricter drug enforcement measures and to declare a national emergency.
The White House on Monday released a statement saying that the Trump administration “continues to be committed to ensuring that the opioid addiction crisis is brought under control.”
A similar effort in Tennessee also failed to gain enough votes to pass.
The measure that passed in Missouri would require the state Department of Public Health to create a national database of the number of opioid prescriptions filled, with the goal of “identifying and tracking prescription opioids across all 50 states.”
The bill would also give the state drug task force $5 million over five months.
The plan calls for training and mentoring of local health departments on how to respond to an opioid epidemic that is expected to cost the state $15 billion over the next five years.
State officials said they expect to get the bill through the legislature in the coming weeks.
In Kansas, the measure passed on Monday by the state House of Representatives would require pharmacy owners to have “a plan for monitoring and reporting opioid prescribing and distribution.”
The House also passed a measure that would require hospitals and nursing homes to “have access to and access to the most up-to-date prescription opioid data from a national and state database” and would mandate “an additional $1 billion over three and a half years” to “provide assistance to states, counties and counties in the Kansas region to enhance patient care, reduce overdose deaths, and address other health care needs.”
The measure is also the first of its kind in the nation.
Kansas is the fifth state to pass legislation to require that all prescriptions for prescription opioids be dispensed at a licensed pharmacy.
The Kansas law was introduced by Rep, Brad Sherman, a Kansas Republican.
He said the measure was necessary to protect people from “abusing prescription drugs” because of “the increasing number of deaths.”
Sherman said he supports the measure because of the opioid issue in Kansas.
“I am deeply concerned that this epidemic