COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services, Columbia Fire Department, and Columbia Police Department hosted an emergency community meeting to address an increase in fatal drug overdoses in Columbia.
Watch the meeting replay in the player below.
The goal of the meeting was to raise awareness about the highly potent drug fentanyl and to educate the community on the use of Narcan.
According to the Columbia Police Department, there have been 22 known and/or suspected drug overdose deaths in Columbia between Jan. 1 and Oct. 1, 2021. Of those deaths, 11 of them happened since August 1.
That has increased substantially lately, there have been 22 this year and half of those have occurred since the first of August,” Scott Clady, Assistant director with the Columbia/Boone County Health Department said.
In the nine-month timeframe, officers responded to 200 calls for service where an individual was reported to be experiencing a drug overdose. Of those calls, CPD documented 131 people actually experiencing an overdose. CPD suspects there are more incidents that have gone unreported.
"We've got over 200 calls this year in reference to someone overdosing," Sgt. Dallas with CPD said.
Experts will provide information and distribute Naloxone (Narcan) which can rapidly reverse an opioid overdose.
Health experts said the fentanyl problem is growing and only getting worse.
“The drug fentanyl is making its way into more and more drugs in addition to heroin. Now we’re seeing it in meth uh ecstasy, cocaine,” Clardy said.
"Five years ago we were seeing heroin as the main drug and occasionally we were seeing fentanyl, now we are only seeing fentanyl," Sgt. Dallas said.