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On April 16, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt launched an initiative to help assist with the State of Missouri’s lawsuit against the major opioid manufacturers. In a press conference, Schmitt launched “Real Opioid Pain,” an initiative that asks Missourians to share how opioid addiction and abuse has affected them.

These first-hand accounts may be used in the lawsuit against the major manufacturers of opioids. Missourians are asked to go to www.realopioidpain.com and share their story.

“Missouri is in the midst of one of the most severe health crises in modern history – opioid abuse, addiction, overdose, and deaths,” said Attorney General Schmitt during the press conference. “Tragically, it is highly likely that each one of us knows someone who has been impacted by opioids. After all, the opioid epidemic knows no boundaries of geography, economics, race or creed.”

Schmitt reiterated his dedication to holding the manufacturers responsible with this initiative, stating, “I am here to tell you that my office will not back down. We’re doing this the Missouri way. Our commitment lies with being the voice of the people – the Missourians who have suffered because of the deceptive practice of these opioid manufacturers. So, today, we are launching a program to ask Missourians to share their stories of the pain and suffering caused by opioids so that we can include those firsthand accounts in this legal battle.”

State Representative Holly Rehder stated, ““I’ve seen opioid addiction first hand, and I know what the opioid crisis has done to families, neighborhoods, and communities in Southeast Missouri and across the state. Addiction has been stigmatized in a way that makes it harder for people to seek treatment or come forward to share their story. I appreciate Attorney General Schmitt’s dedication to listening to Missourians who have suffered because of addiction, and I hope that this initiative will spur awareness, root out deceptive practices and help turn this tide’s destruction across our state.”

State Senator Tony Luetkemeyer reiterated the gravity of the opioid crisis: “Opioid addiction and abuse remain a huge problem in this state, and it’s clear that something needs to be done to hold those responsible for this crisis accountable. Families, neighborhoods, and communities are being torn apart by the opioid crisis – put simply, it’s an epidemic. I applaud Attorney General Schmitt’s efforts on this issue and hope that this can spur further discussion and action.”

Brenda Schnell, Executive Director of the Missouri Recovery Network, echoed those sentiments: “The opioid epidemic has gripped Missouri. Three Missourians lose their life each day as a result of drug overdose. Opioids are responsible for one in five deaths among young adults. Drug overdose deaths have increased by nearly 600% in many rural Missouri counties over the past two decades. These statistics are frightening. Through my work with the Missouri Recovery Network, I’ve seen first-hand how opioids have impacted individuals, families, and communities. I’m glad that the Attorney General is taking the initiative to hold those responsible, accountable.”

With Real Opioid Pain, Attorney General Schmitt is asking Missourians to share how their families, neighborhoods, and communities have been affected by opioid abuse and addiction at www.realopioidpain.com. These stories may be included in the State of Missouri’s case against the three major manufacturers of opioids. There are also resources, news and statistics, and coming information on drug takeback day.

In addition, to promote the website and initiative, Schmitt is launching a statewide television and radio advertisement campaign, and promoting the effort on his social media channels.

In 2017, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services, 951 people died from opioid overdose, accounting for one in every 65 deaths in Missouri. Additionally, there have been 172,592 years of potential life lost due to opioid overdoses, and 8,073 emergency room visits due to opioid misuse (preliminary).  ​​

Video of the press conference can be found here: https://youtu.be/MBEDLeqJy0I and here: https://youtu.be/W3xDf5oLCo4 (Speakers in order of appearance are Kael Maness and Jeff Woodson of Preferred Family Healthcare, Chad Sabora, director of the Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery, Julie Gideon, and Brent Swanson).

Video of the advertisement can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hezxshSYs8&feature=youtu.be