Addiction

Missouri Considers Unprecedented Addiction Help for Moms

Apr 16, 2018

The Missouri Senate is considering a bill that would extend Medicaid for new mothers struggling with addiction, a notable expansion for a state that did not expand Medicaid after the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010.

Though the shops along Sullivant Avenue in Columbus, Ohio had all closed their doors one cold November night, a young woman walked alone down the alley behind the Seventh Day Adventist Church. She was petite and wore lipstick, a tweed coat and blue jeans torn at the knee.


Twice a day, Angela and Nate Turner of Greenwood, Indiana, take tiny strips that look like colored scotch tape, and put them under their tongues.

“They taste disgusting,” Angela says.


At a small studio theater on the campus of the University of Indianapolis in June, it was standing room only for a performance of the original play, “Altered”,  an adaptation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

Lesli Butler played the role of Arachne, an expert weaver whose pride in her art had offended the goddess Athena.

“Without weaving I would not have found my identity, my life’s work,” recited Butler, “and to find one’s self in an art form is perfection.”

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Tiffany Seda-Addington has been fighting for expanded access to naloxone for nearly three years. Ever since her best friend James Carmack died of a heroin overdose at his mother’s house.

“When James died,” Tiffany said. “It was immediately we have to do something.”

That “something” that she and others in Pulaski County, Missouri, decided to fight for was expanded access to naloxone, also known as Narcan. It’s the opioid overdose antidote that essentially brings a person dying from a heroin or opioid overdose back to life.


Claire McCaskill
Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Missouri's U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is planning a hearing this week on the growing abuse of heroin and prescription painkillers. 

Heroin use and overdose rates are rising across many demographics, including race, age, gender and income.  One former addict, Jude Hassan, works at a St. Louis-area treatment center and is working to raise awareness of drug abuse and addiction.

Jude Hassan was once a typical high school student– active in school extracurriculars and just wanting to fit in. But before he completed his time at St. Louis-area Lafayette High School, he was using heroin eight to 10 times a day.

Now, after more than eight years of sobriety, he's sharing his personal experiences of heroin addiction with high school students and working to educate parents and teachers about how to spot opioid use. 


Several years ago, Missouri State Representative Holly Rehder’s daughter struggled with prescription drug abuse. “She had cut her thumb at work and went and got stitches and got a prescription,” Rehder recalls. When her prescription ran out she continued using the pain killers, says Rehder, “because they were so easy to obtain.”

Now, Rehder is sponsoring a bill to make it harder for addicts to obtain drugs in Missouri.


Some mid-Missourians are celebrating a victory on mental health coverage.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Friday announced a new rule that will require health insurance companies to provide the same co-payments and deductibles for mental health services as they would physical health.

This rule will be an addition to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. The act requires health insurance companies to cover both mental and physical health equally.