On Thursday, Senator Claire McCaskill brought a member of President Obama’s cabinet with her to St. Louis to address the opioid epidemic at the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse in Olivette.
"I cannot, for the life of me, understand why we would want to be the number one state in the Midwest for prescriptions of opioids. We are," McCaskill said.
A damning designation McCaskill wants to change. She’s urging Missouri lawmakers to fight opioid abuse with the same fervor they once brought against meth.
"Why could we do that in Missouri and by the way, successfully fight back on meth, but we can’t take a simple step that every other state in the union has taken for something that’s been so deadly? It makes no sense," McCaskill said.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was pegged by the Obama administration to combat opioid and heroin abuse and he’s even being considered a possible running mate for presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.
Vilsack shot down questions at Thursda’s event when asked how he might address opioid abuse should he be selected vice president.
"I’m not going to answer that question. I’ll answer it under my current capacity as the Secretary of Agriculture,” Vilsack said. “What we’ve done is create a series of opportunities to go around the country in forms like this to better acquaint people."
Both Vilsack and McCaskill hope the Show-Me State will take advantage of recently passed federal legislation aimed at creating local and county wide prescription drug monitoring programs.
Senator McCaskill has similar events planned this week in Springfield and Kansas City. Hillary Clinton is expected to make her pick for vice president as soon as Friday.