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Activists take pleas to Jefferson City to raise awareness about heroin epidemic

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Standing room only for lobbyists trying to raise awareness about heroin addiction at the Missouri State Capitol (Credit: KMOV) Standing room only for lobbyists trying to raise awareness about heroin addiction at the Missouri State Capitol (Credit: KMOV)

JEFFERSON CITY (KMOV.com) – Tuesday, a local advocacy group lobbied lawmakers to take action against the deadly heroin epidemic.

The group boarded a bus at the South County Mall at 5:30 a.m. and headed to Jefferson City to drum up support for three different issues.

The group hoped to gain support for third party access to Narcan so that people can get it over-the-counter to prevent overdoses.

They also wanted the state to pass the “911 Good Samaritan Law,” which would protect people from arrest and prosecution for drug possession when they call 911 to report an overdose.

Lastly, the group wanted Missouri lawmakers to implement a prescription drug monitoring program to prevent people from doctor shopping. Missouri is the only state that does not have a drug monitoring program.

One of the lobbyists, Mary Daniels, said she was at the hearing because of her husband, Kevin. 

"Because Narcan wasn't available, my husband's not alive. He died from a heroin overdose four years ago," said Daniels.

Robert Riley, founder of the Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery said, "You know as well as I do, when you ask a room full of people to raise their hand who's been affected by addiction, almost the entire room. So this gives those people a voice to come up here and express their concerns."

Another lobbyist, Cliff Thexton, said he absolutely did not see the day where he had to travel to Jefferson City to be a lobbyist. 

"I've got a son that's an addict. We need these people [lawmakers] to help," said Thexton. 

A Missouri state representative from the 148th District, Holly Rehder said, "When you have folks come here from the district and tell you actual stories, it lets you see what the community is seeing and that's very important." 

Copyright 2016 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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