Opioid Summit Shines Light on Deadly Addictions, Causes, & Possible Solutions
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 don ‘ t 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 Governor ‘ s cabinet attended the summit. Randall Williams, director of Missouri ‘ s Department of Health and Senior Services said, “This is like a wildfire, if you do not stop it, it spreads in ways you can ‘ t 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 it ‘ s the cheapest thing on the market and it ‘ s 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 don ‘ t 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, ” It ‘ s all about coping! We have a problem in this country with pain. We don ‘ t like dealing with pain. We just don ‘ t. 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 don ‘ t change the root of the cause find out what the root of the cause is and change it, nothing ‘ s 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.