Tackling the Opioid Crisis
At the end of November, The New York Times published a stunning chart. See it here. It shows the American deaths by cause. Drug overdoses have eclipsed all other causes. Over 70,000 Americans died by drug over in 2017, higher than car accidents at their peak, higher than HIV at its peak, higher than gun deaths at its peak.
But there’s a deeper story to the article. The drug overdose crisis is now being driven by use of fentanyl drugs – an even more powerful opioid drug.
The All-Fronts Fight
At Governor Mike Parson’s roundtable discussion with St. Louis City Mayor Lyda Krewson last week, the approach appears to be to fight the problem on every front… “increased access to treatment, recovery support services, and ways to ensure first responders are equipped to handle opioid incidents.” And Parson said, “As a former sheriff, I also understand law enforcement plays an important role in decreasing the amount of drugs on the street and appreciate the help from our federal partners at the FBI and DEA.”
The legislature will likely pass a prescription drug monitoring program this session – years after every other state has something in place. Sen.-elect Tony Luetkemeyer and Rep. Holly Rehder have pre-filed vehicles for that.
Post-Dispatch reports that Mallinckrodt PLC’s plan to separate its generic drug business from its branded products, announced Thursday, will leave St. Louis with a company focused on manufacturing generic drugs and pharmaceutical ingredients and carrying much of the liability from a legacy of opioid manufacturing… The generics business, which generated revenue of $839.5 million in fiscal 2017, largely makes opioid drugs and has come under pressure as more doctors in the U.S. shy away from prescribing the addictive medicines that claimed nearly 50,000 lives last year. Mallinckrodt is facing several lawsuits that have alleged that the company contributed to the opioid addiction epidemic through its marketing and promotion practices… Executives also said on the call that the cash impact from any sort of opioid settlement was “probably a number of years away.”
· The Missouri Ethics Commission released its guideline tutorial on CLEAN’s impact. See it here. One of the provisions which has received less attention is the slight reduction in campaign contribution limits. State-wide office holders are not addressed by CLEAN, but the limits for legislators has been lowered from the previous $2,600 level. The limit for state senators is now $2,500; and it’s $2,000 from state representatives. These levels will be adjusted for inflation every two years. And there’s a more rigorous framework in CLEAN for prohibiting attempts to circumvent the limits through committees.
· One reader takes issue with the advice of SuperAttorney Chuck Hatfield I published last week. Hatfield is a good attorney but his first piece of advice that there is no penalty for lobbyists to give gifts but only for legislators to accept them is technically true but [politically] dangerous… When the shit hits the fan on this most legislators will blame the person that gave them the gift… lobbyists should treat the requirement as if it applies to them.
· And one observer warns that the lobbyists’ provisions of the act might be more expansive now because of the Ron Calzone decision. That gave judicial blessing to Missouri’s definition of “lobbyist,” saying you could indeed meet the criteria of being a lobbyist even if you are uncompensated. See that decision here.
In talking with folks, I’ve noticed a mini-backlash starting on all the treasurer talk. The float of Renee Hulshof may be the catalyst. Hulshof is an intriguing pick – smart, politically astute, and demographically appealing. But not necessarily particularly qualified to be state treasurer.
One person said, just pick Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, he’s qualified. Or another emailed, why don’t they just pick Sen. Sandy Crawford, she’s a woman and has a finance background.
eMailbag: Reader Duel on RTW Hurting GOP
On the reader saying RTW cost Matthiesen the 70th:
1. It’s not totally true a bigger reason he lost was suburban voters’ distaste for Trump.
2. When the only victory you can point to is a one term GOP incumbent losing by 111 votes in a solid Dem district you really aren’t helping your issue.
eMailbag on Meet Tim Lohmar
I know nothing about Lohmar but that was refreshing. For years members of both parties have used this chief law enforcement officer mantra when it is simply false. His comments about suing the feds are also spot on. Republicans going after Obama. Democrats going after Trump. Mostly ridiculous… This is a fairly recent trend in American history.
Abe McGull formed a campaign committee (Missourians For Abe Mcgull) to run for City of Springfield Councilperson.