One thing is clear: the opioid epidemic has devastated too many Missouri families. But I'm not without hope.
I've seen firsthand how one addiction program changed lives and was successful in getting people the help they needed: when I was the Jackson County prosecutor in the 1990's, we implemented one of the country's very first drug courts, to redirect first-time non-violent drug offenders into supervised treatment programs -- because I know just how important it is to provide critical support like this to folks dealing with addiction.
Twenty five years later, I'm so excited that a new plan to expand access to drug courts throughout Missouri is finding champions across the political spectrum.
Drug courts focus on helping those who struggle with addiction get back on their feet -- offering Missourians who put in the effort a second chance.
From my days as Jackson County Prosecutor until now, we've seen the successes rehabilitation programs like this can bring to Missourian's lives and their communities.
And this isn't the only good news -- in 2012, we successfully launched a drug court for veterans in Jackson County, and just last month more than $1 million in new funding headed to drug courts across in Missouri.
I'm glad that these reforms have bipartisan support -- because that could mean access to drug courts for many more people across our state. And that's a huge win for Missouri.
I applaud the Governor and all those in the state legislature pushing to get this effort across the finish line to make drug courts more accessible to those who need them most.
We lose too many moms, brothers, kids, uncles and loved ones to addiction every year -- but I'm hopeful about the future because we're taking real steps to change that. But until that day comes, I promise to keep working hard to ensure Missourians across our state have access to the resources they need to fight this epidemic.