More than 700 people died of opioid overdoses in the St. Louis area in 2016. Now, leaders in St. Louis County are looking to add more money--and manpower--to fight the epidemic.
Using $300,000 of federal grant money, the county is looking to add a full-time employee within the public health department to coordinate anti-opiate efforts between different local, state and national agencies.
County Executive Steve Stenger says it's a very specialized role to bridge the gaps in health care, recovery, and law enforcement, with the hopes of keeping people from falling through the cracks.
At Tuesday's county council meeting, they will consider a bill to fund this position for 2 years. After that, they could apply for more federal money or allocate some from within the county.
Like PDMP, Stenger says this is something that must be done at the county level because this type of program doesn’t exist throughout state.