- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 11, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Department of Justice says Missouri counties are now eligible to receive federal funds for prescription drug monitoring programs to combat the opioid epidemic.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri announced Wednesday the change means counties are able to apply for federal money from the Department of Health and Human Services. Without the provision, the federal grants would have been limited to states.

Missouri is the only state in the country without such a program at the state level.

McCaskill has advocated for the change and she said Wednesday the announcement allows counties to do critical work to fight drug abuse while the state of Missouri “continues to sit on its hands.”

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