SOUTHEAST MISSOURI (KFVS) - Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill released information related to the opioid epidemic in Missouri on July 12.
According to McCaskill's investigation into opioid manufacturer and distributors, 1.6 billion doses of opioids entered the state of Missouri from 2012 through 2017.
The investigation revealed that the southeast Missouri reason was the hardest hit region according to McCaskill.
That is more than 260 dosage units for every Missourian during the six-year period. McCaskill said in 2015 the three major distributors shipped about 52 opioid dosage units per person in the state.
"It's staggering. Over six years we averaged 260 pills for every man, woman, and child in Missouri," McCaskill said. "The opioid crisis these pills have fueled is a failure of policy and oversight by the government and a failure of basic human morality on the part of many pharmaceutical companies and distributors—a failure that has destroyed families and communities all over our state."
According to the investigation, Madison and Scott Counties had among the highest rates of suspicious opioid orders in the state. This includes orders of unusual size or frequency based on local ordering patterns.
Madison and Ripley Counties saw some of the highest rates of emergency room visits due to non-heroin opioid use in the state, and Butler, Dunklin, Madison, Mississippi, Pemiscot, and Ripley counties had among the largest opioid dispensing rates, as measured by the strength of prescriptions, in Missouri.
McCaskill said the report highlights the number of suspicious orders reported as a result of that volume of opioids—as well as the lack of administrative enforcement action taken by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) against distributors in general to prevent the diversion of opioids to the black market.