opioid pills

The U.S. has seen a decline in overdose deaths in majority of states. Missouri only saw decrease in opioid-related deaths.

The opioid and overdose crisis is continuing to be a problem in all states, including Missouri.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently posted data showing a decrease in overdose related deaths across the nation. However, this is not the case in Missouri.

Missouri still is seeing a climb in overdose deaths, but as of this year, there have been fewer opioid-related deaths.

The Northwest Region of Missouri had 13 overdose related deaths in 2018, nine of those were opioid related. This year there have been eight, with only two being opioid related.

Nancy King, a health educator with the St. Joseph Health Department, said that all states need to be cautious with the data and still work to make it a steady decline.

“It’s encouraging to see after many years of dealing with this issue that there’s starting to be a decline in deaths, but we can’t just go off one year and think that it’s going to be better,” King said.

King said Buchanan County is fortunate to have a variety of agencies working to stop this crisis on a daily basis. Some of these agencies are St. Kolbe-Puckett, St. Joe Metro Treatment Center, Family Guidance, Northwest Health Services and Narcotics Anonymous.

“We have so many agencies and people that are invested in trying to create a better community and reduce substance abuse,” King said.

The numbers are going down for opioid deaths, but not overall, which makes King and agencies eager to use more tactics.

One way that King suggests to help is continuing to expand the distribution of NARCAN nasal spray, to help reverse an overdose.

“There’s been a big push across the country for first responders to use NARCAN to help with overdoses to help save lives,” King said.

Agencies are continuing to use aggressive tactics to address the opioid and overdose crisis happening across the country until a steady decline is seen.

Anyone looking for more information on the topic is urged to visit the task force website addictionhelpnow.info.

Bailey Ketcham can be reached

at bailey.ketcham@newspressnow.com.