Opioid Summit Shines Light on Deadly Addictions, Causes, & Possi - KOAM TV 7

Opioid Summit Shines Light on Deadly Addictions, Causes, & Possible Solutions

Joplin, MO -

Hundreds united to look for a solution to the opioid crisis at a summit in Joplin. The event called attention to the causes and deadly outcomes of opioid abuse. It isn't a new problem but one exploding in the state of Missouri and nationwide.  Whether legal or illegal opioids, all agreed it will take a united effort to make an impact.

A video shared personal stories. "I had my drug addict daughter nowhere to take her." Those  home some of the problems related to the opioid epidemic. Experts say nine out of ten people dont have access to drug treatment. But experts agree treatment or enforcement alone won't solve the opioid epidemic that often starts with prescriptions. Issues raised included over prescribing by doctors which leaves people with leftover medication they tend to keep, or use more than they need which can lead to addiction.

The Governors cabinet attended the summit.  Randall Williams, director of Missouris Department of Health and Senior Services said, "This is like a wildfire, if you do not stop it, it spreads  in ways you cant anticipate. He added,  We think the key part of our strategy is prevention. We have eighty-nine thousand  prescriptions for narcotics  for every  hundred thousand Missourians and we had eighty percent of people who end up on heroin started with prescription drugs.

Presenters  explained  that those who can't get pills turn to  heroin where seventy-eight die each day of overdoses. They say its the cheapest  thing on the market and its in plentiful supply.
But  drug traffickers are setting up shop as close at Springfield and are also now pushing fentanyl and carfentanyl.
Drug Enforcement Agent Doug Dorley said those are scary. "These are drugs that will  kill you in two milligrams, potential lethal dose," he explained.
Live polls were part of the summit where, using phones to text, participants answered questions including recommendations.
A majority want to see more treatment and limits on prescriptions.
Participant Debra Martin said,
You can get thirty days of opioid for a dollar when you got Medicaid. Where does it go when you dont use it all? she asked.
Debra  lost her husband to meth and sister to drugs including prescribed codeine.  She works with several support groups including
Come as You Are with Splitlog Church.

Part of the problem according to several presenters, is that addictions are no longer simply  about getting high but feeling numb.

Nichole Dawsey is the director of Prevention Education with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. She explained, Its  all about coping! We have a problem in this country with pain. We dont like dealing with pain. We just dont. Every time we feel uncomfortable, we want to take a pill. We want to have a quick fix. One of the things that  prevention efforts teach us is how to deal with feelings that  are uncomfortable. How to deal with stress,  how to take a few minutes to yourself and just center. Walk away, take some  deep breaths, listen to music,  and come back refreshed.

Debra Martin agreed saying her support group suggests meditation, acupuncture and even exercise. She said addicts need to know they have choices and that a pill is not the only answer but first they have to search for the real problem.  This is pain they have on the inside. If we dont change the root of the cause find out what the  root of the cause is and change it, nothings  gonna change it.


Besides  addiction, with drugs comes crimes  associated with it. St. Louis is now considered the most dangerous city in the nation, Kansas City tenth and Springfield eleventh.
And the Dorley with the DEA said since we're on the same highway,  if there's a market for drugs, traffickers and that crime will come here too. 

One Joplin helped sponsor the summit and has information on its website. click here for a link and the Centers for Disease Control also has information. click here to link to its site.


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