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2015 in Review: Public health problems that plague the region and social services combatting them

Mary Edwards

Reporters Durrie Bouscaren and Camille Phillips have covered a wide variety of issues in the region in the last year. They joined host Don Marsh to discuss the most problematic ones and agreed the two most pressing issues are homicides and heroin addiction. To date there have been 187 homicides in St. Louis but few arrests.

Heroin addiction is at an epidemic level throughout the region and is exacerbated by Missouri's lack of a prescription drug data base. It is well known that abuse of prescription pain killers leads to heroin addiction. A prescription drug data base would allow doctors to see if a person is a serial pain killer user before giving another prescription. Lack of treatment for addiction is another serious problem in Missouri. One encouraging development is that Missouri now allows first responders to administer Narcan which can reverse the effects of a heroin over dose if given in time. A bill pre-filed in the Missouri Legislature would allow civilians to administer it as well.

Here are some of the other issues they discussed:

  • Infant mortality in St. Louis
  • Homelessness in St. Louis
  • Attempts to address violence as a health issue and use a public health model
  • Problems encountered by Planned Parenthood
  • The financial issues in East St. Louis

Listen to the audio of the discussion for more details.

"St. Louis on the Air" discusses issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh. Follow us on Twitter and join the conversation at @STLonAir.

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Mary Edwards is a producer for St. Louis Public Radio's broadcast program, "St. Louis Symphony."