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Report: opioid related deaths on the rise in rural Missouri

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A report from the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services shows opioid deaths are on the rise in rural counties in Missouri, including right in the Tri-States.

From 2007-2017 state numbers show deaths have risen 35 percent.

One of the highest death rates was reported in Marion County.

Officials with Clarity Healthcare in Hannibal say it's an ongoing problem, and they see a mix of people turning to pills and heroin. They say a number of people become addicted after surgeries or accidents.

Clarity offers an Addiction Medicine Program (AMP) which uses medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies to provide a “whole-person” approach to substance abuse, according to their website.

Addiction Medicine Care Coordinator Kaytlyn Hardwick says opioid addiction not only impacts the person using, but entire families.

"A lot of the times the calls come from the family members that are very concerned and the person that is using, they are not willing to make that phone call, it's hard to ask for help," Hardwick said.

Hardwick added they also provide outreach education and training to teach people how to use Narcan, which is used to help revive someone from overdosing.

In 2016 the Hannibal Fire Department began carrying Narcan, a drug used to treat opioid overdoses.

Training Officer Mark Kempker says crews are using Narcan mor and more. He attributes the increase to more people using drugs like heroin laced with fentanyl, a stronger drug.

In October, the department entered an agreement with the state to provide more Narcan due to the increase of overdoses.

Kempker added they visit schools to educate kids on the dangers of drug abuse through their 'HEET,' initiative, a community outreach program designed around the current Heroin & Opioid crisis in the U.S. Fire, EMS & Law Enforcement.

Along with helping other fire departments train for drug overdose calls.


Health in Rural Missouri Report

Hannibal Fire Department Program

Clarity Healthcare Addiction Medicine Program

Author Profile Photo

Drew Brown

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