Health experts talk Opioid and Fentanyl crisis in Missouri


The opioid epidemic continues to spread across the state of Missouri, and experts say fentanyl use is becoming more wide spread.

The Columbia Police Department said it has found trace amounts of fentanyl in nearly all illicit drugs, including cocaine, fake pills, and marijuana products.

The Columbia/Boone County Health Department and CPD reported that often people think they are taking other illicit drugs like heroine or cocaine, and don’t know it has been laced with fentanyl.

Fake prescription pills such as Adderall, Percocet, and Xanax, have also been found to contain fentanyl. It only takes between 10-15 grains, the weight of a snowflake, for fentanyl to kill a person.

Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) reported that drug overdose death rates in 2020 were the #1 leading cause of death among adults ages 18-44 in Missouri.

Boone County reported more opioid related deaths in Boone County than alcohol related deaths in 2019. With the 25-34 year old age group being the most at risk.

The CDC reported 107,622 overdose related death’s in the Unites State during 2021, that is nearly a 15% increase from 93,655 death’s in 2020.

The CPD reported 18 overdose related death’s in 2020, 30 in 2021, and 18 in 2022 between January and Mid May. Police Reported 155 overdoses in 2020, 168 in 2021, and 53 in 2022. Computer Aided Dispatch calls “referencing overdoses” reported 300 calls in 2020, 272 in 2021, and 92 in 2022.

Heather Harlan, Public Health Educator with the Columbia/Boone County Health Department said firefighters across the nation are reporting that they are eight times more likely to respond to an overdose than a fire, and local firefighters said they are seeing similar rates.

The Missouri Overdose Rescue and Education (MORE Project) has resources that can help give people lessons on how to administer Narcan, and locations on how to get free Narcan.

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