Kevin Killeen (@KMOXKilleen)By Kevin Killeen

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – With drug overdose deaths on the rise, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen is considering two bills to try to save lives.

Alderwoman Cara Spencer’s plan would give immunity from prosecution to drug users who call for medical help during an overdose emergency.

“I lost a cousin to an overdose a few years ago,” Spencer said. “I’ve had several friends who have experienced overdoses, some of whom have been saved, and some whom we lost. And so this is an issue that affects every family, every block in our city.”

Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce is supporting Spencer’s plan.

“I think it’s a really good idea,” Joyce said. “I think it’s moral and ethically appropriate to have legislation like this. It saves lives, and so my hope is this is an idea that will spread across the entire state.”

Joyce cautions, however, that the immunity from prosecution would not apply to any outstanding warrants against those involved, only to the immediate presence of drugs at an overdose scene.

Related story: Local DEA Pushes Bill for Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

A companion bill before the board would set up a prescription drug registry to discourage people from getting hooked on prescription pain killers, which can lead to heroin addiction.

Central West End Alderwoman Lyda Krewson

Central West End Alderwoman Lyda Krewson (Kevin Killeen/KMOX)

Alderwoman Lyda Krewson is sponsoring the prescription drug registry bill.

“What it does is allows doctors to check this registry to see whether or not an individual has shopped around and gone from one pharmacy to another pharmacy, from one doctor to another doctor,” Krewson said. “So, it allows them to see patterns.”

St. Louis County has already passed similar legislation, and Krewson’s bill would coordinate the city registry with the county.

Backers of both bills say they hope the Missouri legislature will pass statewide bills to fight the opiate addiction problem.

(TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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