Opioids (e.g., heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone, etc.) are drugs that activate opioid receptors in the brain and body. Activation of these receptors suppresses pain, so opioids are often prescribed in a medical context (e.g., following surgery, or to manage chronic pain).
Abuse of prescription opioids and recreational opioids such as heroin and fentanyl has dramatically increased nationwide since 1999, leading to high rates of opioid-related overdoses and deaths. In Missouri, 1.8% of deaths were the result of an opioid overdose in 2018. State-level policies such as naloxone access laws and mandatory prescription drug monitoring programs have been shown to decrease opioid-related overdose deaths overall, but may lead some opioid users to seek deadlier illicit opioids such as fentanyl.
HCR 6 would designate September of each year as "Opioid and Heroin Awareness Month" in recognition of the dangers and costs of the abuse epidemic in the state of Missouri.