“Highlights with Hegeman” for the Week of April 11: Making the Most of an Unfortunate Situation

A lot has been said and written about the opioid epidemic in our county. Part of helping those who are addicted includes getting to the bottom of how these drugs were distributed in the first place. But, like anything else state government does, there needs to be funding in place to get the right resources to the right people.

In 2020, the Legislature passed a bill establishing the Opioid Addiction Treatment and Recovery Fund. Recently, the state received more than $450 million as part of a historic lawsuits against several major opioid distributors. This money will be split amongst different agencies that handle drug treatment and education. House Bill 2162 would simply allow the Missouri Department of Corrections and the people who oversee our state’s drug courts to have access to the Opioid Addiction Treatment and Recovery Fund.

Once the state has acquired its share of the lawsuit settlement, the Missouri Department of Mental Health, Health and Senior Services, along with Social Services, would all be in charge of distributing settlement money to local treatment agencies. At the same time, Corrections and drug courts would also see some of the funding to help them with their roles in this effort.

House Bill 2162 has passed through both the Missouri House of Representatives and the Missouri Senate. Because of the amendments we added in the Senate, the House will now review this proposal and decide if members want to send the measure to the governor for his approval, or take the bill to a conference committee with the Missouri Senate and iron our any differences the two chambers may have. My hope is to see this make its way to the governor and for him to sign the bill into law so we can help more Missourians fight this horrible addiction and get them on the road to recovery as soon as possible.

As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is dan.hegeman@senate.mo.gov and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.