Senator McCaskill discusses prescription drug addiction

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JEFFERSON CITY - U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill addressed the opioid epidemic with a special senate committee Tuesday in Jefferson City.

Doctors, State Representatives, and legislators all spoke to Senator McCaskill about legislation.

The hearing addressed four main points: 

  • Opioid addiction has seen an increase in the past decade. 
  • Missouri currently does not have an PDMP program, a statewide data base system to monitor drug prescriptions.
  • Polling whether or not doctors are prescribing too many pills
  • Health Insurance programs, like Medicare, paying for other treatment programs besides just pills and shots.  

Committee member Dr. Robert Twillman said, "We certainly have seen a major increase in the amount of prescribing over the past decade or so and I think it has gotten out of hand." 

Dr. Twillman said part of the way to combat prescription drug addiction is to steer patients into different treatment outlets such as massage therapy or acupuncture. 

"Part of the challenge is the way the medical system is set up," Dr. Twillman said. "Massage therapy and acupuncture treatments are largely not covered by insurance companies so people are forced to pay out of pocket, which many individuals can't afford." 

Several committee members advocated to Senator McCaskill to put in place a system that counts the amount of pills patients consume after being prescribed opioid drugs. The goal of this service is to give doctors a more accurate average amount of pills they should treat their patients with.