Missouri House approves bill to fund opioid addiction treatment

QUINCY (WGEM) – In order to further help those suffering from opioid addiction, the Missouri house has approved a bill that would take $500 million the state is expecting to get from an opioid lawsuit, and distribute the funds for both opioid education and treatment.

The bill still needs to be approved by the senate, but addiction recovery centers are hoping to get some of that money and put it to good use.

Angela Caraway, the Vice President of Clinical Operations for Mark Twain Behavioral Health, says they were able to handle the increased demand for their services during the pandemic. She said it was alleviated slightly when they acquired Turning Point Recovery Center in July. With the increased demand, Caraway sees the money as a way to provide more programs and support who those who need them.

“I think there will be some more collaborations with treatment courts. I’d look for more access to narcan for individuals who might be in crisis. As well as more funding for medicated assisted treatment. For psychiatry services to provide some medical interventions for people suffering from substance use issues,” Caraway

The funds will be distributed to the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Health and Senior Services, and the Department of Social Services., along with the Department of Corrections, the Judiciary, and the Office of Administration. They will then distribute the money to organizations.

The organizations would also like to use the money to obtain more staff as well.

“With the workforce shortage issue across the state, as well as the rising number of referrals. That’s really our best resource to combat substance use issues in our community is to have staff, able to take clients on, refer them to medication services,” Caraway said.

Though she says it does depend on what the Department of Mental Health says they can use the money for. While they wait for the bill to be approved, they also have to wait for a few more municipalities in Missouri to sign onto the lawsuit so the state can receive the money.

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