Missouri State Representative Robert Sauls

State Representative Robert Sauls’s office submitted these responses to the American Opioid Podcast on 3/6/2019 11:56:55 AM.

What district of Missouri do you represent?

21st District

Briefly, how would you describe the opioid crisis in your state?

It is a serious problem of grave concern. It is not just the addiction, but the crimes that stem from addiction. We as a society need to demand that our states do everything they can to treat addiction.

What are the two or three most significant bills that have been introduced in your chamber to help alleviate the opioid crisis in your state?

Missouri is the only state that does not have a statewide Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. We recently passed a bill through the Missouri House that would opt in for a statewide PDMP. Additionally, we passed another bill that requires treatment courts in all counties.

What was your involvement, if any, in those bills (e.g., introduction, advocacy, vote pledge)?

I cosponsored both pieces of legislation, spoke about them on the floor, and encouraged other members to support them as well.

Have any of the bills passed? If not, why?

Both passed through the House. Waiting on the Senate.

What was the most memorable experience you had while learning about the opioid crisis in your state?

I am a prior prosecutor and I have seen this crisis firsthand. I believe we as a society need to focus on treating addiction rather than imprisoning for addiction. I believe that should be our focus.

If you had a magic wand that allowed you to pass any legislation you wanted in order to help alleviate the opioid crisis in your state, what would that legislation look like?

Fully funded drug treatment courts that would expand to cover individuals who could voluntarily sign up to get the same treatment.