Sen. McCaskill announces hearing on opioid epidemic

Sen. McCaskill announces hearing on opioid epidemic

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is planning a hearing next week on the growing abuse of heroin and prescription painkillers.

The hearing is planned for Tuesday morning in the Governor's Office Building in Jefferson City. McCaskill, a Democrat, notes in a news release that Missouri is the only state without a prescription drug monitoring program that would keep people from "doctor shopping" to obtain prescription drugs.

State lawmakers have resisted enacting such a program for more than a decade because of worries about the security of a government database with medical information.

Federal data shows a rise in drug overdoses and heroin use. Researchers say abuse of opioid painkillers is partly to blame for the rise in heroin. That's because the painkillers are often a precursor to heroin.

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