In 2021, 1 out of 47 deaths statewide were attributed to an opioid-involved overdose, most of which was fentanyl. A Missouri legislative taskforce is working to get a grip on the state’s opioid crisis by studying the epidemic and the effect the overuse of painkillers has on residents.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has a CDC-funded program that supports collecting drug overdose data to develop response and prevention efforts. Alicia Jenkins is the Assistant Deputy Director at the Division of Community and Public Health.

“We actually are getting ready to roll out our EMS tab with that dashboard,” said Jenkins. “The unique thing about the dashboard is that it makes information available to the public so that as folks are looking at what is going on in their counties, they can look at how to address and implement local strategies and activities that may benefit them.”

Jenkins told the task force that her department worked with Butler County in southeast Missouri to install a Naloxone vending machine.

“Through the funding that we have they were able to get access to the Naloxone,” she said. “So, they are able to go in, and they have a vending machine that is available to the public, I have seen it, and people go in and they use it. There is no stigma. It’s available. People go in there and they put in a coupon. They put in a button. They have access to Naloxone.”

Her department is trying to come up with ways that reduce the likelihood of overdoses.

Last year, Missouri launched a dashboard displaying opioid overdose related data through the DHSS. The dashboard breaks down drug overdose deaths by drug type. Click here to look at the dashboard.

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