Regional Opioid Crisis Summit Coming Tuesday, Public Encouraged - KOAM TV 7

Regional Opioid Crisis Summit Coming Tuesday, Public Encouraged to Attend


     A push by Governor Eric Greitens to address the problem of opioid addiction in the state has led to a Regional Summit planned in Joplin next Tuesday.  The Opioid Crisis Summit  will be held on the campus of Missouri Southern and organizers want area residents to know that they are encouraged to come and learn how to combat the problem.
     Medicine Shoppe pharmacy manager Joni Forbus will be a summit presenter. She said opioid addiction is frontline for her business.

As pharmacists, we always have abusers that come into the store. Especially  being in the four corners region with Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas so close.  And we don’t have a prescription drug monitoring program so they come across the border to try to get their medication filled because they cant get it filled in their states cause theyre being monitored.
The city of Joplin hopes an approved but not yet implemented, prescription drug monitoring program will soon  curb that here. It's one solution that will be shared at the opioid summit along with an outline of the problem.  Summit co-chairman and Joplin health department director Dan Pekarek said,
Just look at the statistics! I think there were fifty deaths from overdoses, opioid drug overdoses,  excluding Springfield in the last four years."
Police say when addicts can't get prescription medications some turn to illegal drugs like heroine.
Chief Matt Stewart said,  "We haven
t seen, here in Joplin, what theyve seen in St. Louis, even Springfield, Tulsa. We've got a unique  opportunity to get out in front of it, cause its coming."

A few years ago Joplin dealt with pharmacy robberies and burglaries. Chief Stewart said  people can avoid being targets of opioid theft by properly disposing of unused medications in drop off boxes like one at  the police department.

Pekarek said that and more will be shared at the summit. "We'll be having quite a bit of education. Really at the end of it, it is a call to action."
People all along the interstate 49 corridor are invited to take back ideas to their communities on curbing abuse.
Pharmacist Tim Mitchell from Neosho helped plan the summit. He said limiting opioid distribution is already happening with Medicaid to a week
s supply and could be discussed here. He suggested,  "Instead of prescribing  a full months supply at a time, maybe the  physicians need to  look at smaller quantities."

Forbus will be presenting  on www.generationrx.org,   a website with educational materials that she  hopes all will  use  to  help the next generation avoid the opioid abuse problem.
The more we can drive it  home, the differences between good drugs versus bad drugs,  the difference if its  not your medication dont take it.
But she acknowledged that about fifteen percent or about one in seven youth already have an addiction problem.

 The  summit will take place at  the Robert Ellis Young gymnasium on the Missouri Southern State University campus. It runs from 8:30am to 12:30pm Tuesday, October 17th.   For information or to pre-register as requested by the state click on the following link. 



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