(Springfield, Mo.) The opioid crisis in Missouri has been called an epidemic for years now and the most recent statistics show a disturbing trend as the show Me State ranks 19th.
Opioid overdoses are accelerating in the nation, and Missouri is ahead of the curve.
"We have a serious crisis that needs to have everybody on the same page and we need it now," explains Eric Moffitt, Substance Abuse Professional.
Moffitt says in 2016, nearly 64,000 people died of drug overdoses. At least two-thirds of those deaths were linked to opioids.
"This crisis stated in the 80’s and now in 2010-2018 we’re seeing the long term effects now that we’re being predicted back then. No one listened back then."
Moffitt says not only did the Show Me State rank number 19th in the number of such deaths, the deadly trend is continuing and possibly accelerating in 2017.
"If we don’t do anything, dead people don’t find recovery so the more dead bodies we have stacked up the less people find recovery. So let’s start meeting them where they’re at, let’s start showing that we love them and they have value."
Moffitt believes the best way to reduce the number of overdose deaths is to focus on the underlying cause of addiction. That includes better access to mental health care, depression, and unemployment.
"With the limit of mental health treatment, With the limit of availability for treatment, with the limit for insurance, people uninsured, we’re bottle necking so bad that everyone that everyone is being left to the curb."
Even with programs and county wide support in place, people are still not receiving the help they need and they're overdosing, and dying.
"We are all going to have family members and loved ones, and friends that will be subject to these horrors. It’s not going to leave anyone untouched. "