U.S. Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan says the Midwest, including Missouri, has been especially affected by the opioid crisis. Top HHS officials have made several stops in the St. Louis area this week to discuss the issue.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams

“It’s one of the places where the problems are gravest,” he says. “That’s why we’re here – to make sure we hear from you all.”

Missouri is getting $31.5 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help communities address the addictive prescription drug outbreak.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams says opioid addiction has led to troubles within his own family.

“My uncle drank himself into a nursing home. My own brother is in state prison in Maryland right now because he stole $200 to support his habit and got a 10-year prison sentence,” Adams says. “As a family, we hid that for far too long and too many families out there are scared to admit we have a problem. We can help our loved ones become productive members of society, if we do admit that we have a problem.”

The officials also visited Great Circle, a Webster Groves non-profit for behavioral health services, and have participated in an opioid roundtable at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

The events coincide with President Trump designating this week as Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week.

By Missourinet contributing reporter Jill Enders

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