Law enforcement working to tackle opioid crisis - FOX 5 KRBK is Springfield MO source for News and Weather

Law enforcement working to tackle opioid crisis

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(Springfield, Mo.--11/13/2017) With opioid abuse on the rise local law enforcement officials are trying to steer communities clear of danger.

FOX5 spoke to a Springfield undercover investigator how the department is trying to hit the opioid crisis head on.

"We cannot arrest our way out of this. It has to be a community effort through all these different agencies to try and lower the number of people that are starting to abuse opioids as pills," explains Special Investigator Commander with the Springfield Police Department.

An undercover investigator who does not want to be seen or his name shown, says with the opioid crisis taking tens of 1,000's of lives every year across the country, he says the streets of Springfield are no stranger to the epidemic.

"Drug abuse runs through about every crime we deal with in Springfield. Everything from domestic violence to thefts to stealing, shoplifting, because people have to support that habit and they usually do that through criminal enterprise."

Investigators say the fight is much harder for first responders across the area because Springfield has become a hub for drugs coming in from larger cities.

"What happens in Springfield spreads out to our neighboring communities. Most of our drug dealers are going to be in town and people are going to be coming into Springfield to buy or they’re going to go out to sell."

Authorties say they are making headway getting drugs off the streets but the battle is far from over. So law enforcement is working to attack the issue at the root.

"We attack it proactively with drug investigations. For example in 2016 we added a pill diversion officer. His sole job is to try and catch people that are abusing opioids before they become a heroin abusers."

Police say a range of steps need to be in the works to try and deal with the overdoses. In 2016, Greene County saw more than 40 deaths related to opioid overdoses. This year medical examiners say we are at more than 30.

"The key tools we have to build a coalition between not only law enforcement between the courts, people dealing with drug abuse and addiction, and the medical community to try and tackle this at different angles."

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