Missouri Senate backs bill for program to fight opioid abuse

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Missouri Capitol Building in Jefferson City.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Missouri senators are advancing a plan to create a state program to combat prescription drug abuse.

Senators gave the measure initial approval Tuesday in a voice vote.

The bill by Cassville Republican Sen. David Sater would create a new program under the state pharmacy board. The board could spend money and provide grants to promote safe use of medications and combat drug abuse. It would expire in August 2019.

Money couldn’t go toward a prescription drug-monitoring program to track when prescriptions for controlled substances such as opioids are written and filled. Lawmakers this year also are considering bills to create a drug-tracking database, but they’ve faced pushback because of privacy concerns.

Sater’s bill needs another vote of approval in order to move to the state House.