- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 16, 2016

CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) - St. Louis County leaders are pushing legislation to monitor distribution of prescription medicines that can serve as a gateway to heroin addiction.

County Executive Steve Stenger said Tuesday that the county legislation is necessary because Missouri is the nation’s only state that has failed to establish a database to track opioids prescribed by doctors.

Stenger, a Democrat, calls heroin abuse “a deadly epidemic” in the St. Louis region, where more than 2,700 residents have died from a heroin or opioid-related overdose in the past seven years.

Meanwhile, Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, was in suburban St. Louis Tuesday to hear concerns about opioid abuse.

Criticism among lawmakers centers on privacy concerns over a government-run database with medical information.

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