Gov. Greitens visits St. Louis morgue amid growing opioid crisis - KMOV.com

Gov. Greitens visits St. Louis morgue amid growing opioid crisis

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Governor Eric Greitens visiting the St. Louis City Morgue in fight against the opioid crisis. (Credit: KMOV) Governor Eric Greitens visiting the St. Louis City Morgue in fight against the opioid crisis. (Credit: KMOV)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

Governor Greitens signed an executive order on Tuesday to equip more state law enforcement officers with Narcan.

That includes Highway Patrol, Park Rangers and Conservation Agents.

The moves comes as Greitens continues to fight the growing opioid epidemic.

After signing the executive order, Greitens then visited the St. Louis City Morgue to tour the facility.

He said he wanted to visit the morgue to talk with those who are on the front lines in dealing with the problem and talk about the human costs.

Last year, drug overdoses killed more than 250 people in the city of St. Louis, and 900 people across the state.

At the St. Louis City Morgue, they know all too well that the problem isn't going away.

"From 2015 to 201 we saw 100 percent increase in deaths from opioids," said Governor Greitens.

One city official said this year could be just as bad.

"We see the tip of the iceberg," said Dr. Michael Graham, Chief Medical Examiner for the City of St. Louis.

Dr. Graham said the staff is dealing with cases of more than just heroin overdoses. They're also dealing with drugs such as carfentanil, a synthetic opiod, thousands of times more powerful than morphine.

"And so very tine amounts that can kill are hard to find, very expensive to find," said Dr. Graham.

The costs of running toxicology tests checking for certain drugs add up quickly.

"And so you're dealing with potentially, if you're kind of looking when you just suspect it, may add another $700 to an examination, it's pretty pricey," said Dr. Graham.

But the costs are not just in dollars and cents, there is the price that families pay when drugs tear their lives apart.

"We have newborn babies, two a day, two newborn babies everyday in the state of Missouri are being born suffering from narcotic withdrawal," said Greitens. "It demonstrates why we have to take action."

On Monday, Greitens signed an executive order creating a prescription drug monitoring program, which could be up and running within a month.

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