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Fentanyl takes over as a leading factor in Missouri overdose deaths

overdoses by type
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
Missouri overdoses by quarter


Drug overdose deaths continue to climb every year across the U.S. and in Mid-Missouri. And one Mid-Missouri county is among the top in the state.

It is a leading cause of injury deaths, with people dying from synthetic opioids overdoses including fentanyl, along with other drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine.

In 2023 alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 111,355 deaths due to an overdose, which is nearly 3,500 more deaths compared to 2022, when the CDC reported 107,941 overdose deaths.

The latest numbers in Missouri from the University of Missouri-St. Louis show from January to June 2023, 1,015 people lost their lives due to a drug overdose, with 70% of those deaths including fentanyl.

In 2022,1,424 deaths were reported from a synthetic opioid by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services which is near the 1,015 number reported for the first six months of 2023.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services dashboard shows there were 2,180 overdose deaths reported including overdoses of all drugs which shows 756 of the overdoses were not from a synthetic opioid.

According to the Missouri Department of Mental Health Senior Services, from 2007 to 2022 in Missouri overdose deaths that included a synthetic opioid spiked 1.35%.

Boone County was listed in the top 10 counties in Missouri in 2022 with the most drug overdose deaths. In that year, Boone County saw 55 people of an overdose with 37 dying from a synthetic opioid, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

St. Louis County was listed as No. 1 out of the 10 counties with 394 deaths blamed on a drug overdose in 2022.

Experts say they're seeing more overdoses involving synthetic opioids either alone or mixed with other drugs.

The Drug Enforcement Administration says synthetic opioids are substances that are create in a laboratory and that act on the same targets in the brain as natural opioids to produce pain relief effects. Synthetic opioids include fentanyl and methadone.

Fentanyl is a growing concern around the country as it continues to make its way into the U.S. and Mid-Missouri communities. The DEA says 2 milligrams of fentanyl is a lethal dose but it depend's a person's body size, tolerance and past usage.

Across the state of Missouri, 43 children died from a fentanyl overdose in 2022, with 20 of them being under the age of 4, the Missouri Department of Social Services reported.

The International Journal of Drug Policy reported Monday that 115 million pills containing illicit fentanyl were seized by law enforcement last year compared to over 71 million in 2022.

The Food and Drug Administration approved over-the-counter naloxone in March of 2023. The drug also known as Narcan is used to reverse an opioid overdose and it is available in stores and online.

It is also available at the Columbia/Boone County Department of Health for free.

Time 2 Act Missouri reported in 2022, EMS distributed Narcan 2,996 times.

Watch ABC 17 News at 10 on Thursday for more on the continuing social cost of fentanyl overdoses.

Article Topic Follows: Special Report

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Erika McGuire

Erika McGuire originally comes from Detriot. She is a reporter and weekend anchor on ABC 17 News.


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