Florissant, MO (KTRS) Community efforts continue to combat the heroin epidemic in the St. Louis area.
On Monday night, the Florissant Police Department, along with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse hosted a Town Hall discussion on heroin and prescription painkiller abuse. Presentations were given by members of law enforcement, treatment professionals, and those directly affected by the epidemic.
Brandon Costerison, the public awareness specialist with the NCADA, shared these alarming statistics with the heroin epidemic in the St. Louis area. “We’re losing over one life a day in the St. Louis region and we have been for about the past five years.” said Costerison.
Costerison added, “Last year the preliminary numbers coming in at 462 people that died from in the St. Louis from heroin and prescription opiate overdoses. That’s the highest we’ve got on record. That’s more people that are dying from violent crimes, more people that are dying from motor vehicle accidents.”
Costerison attributes the heroin epidemic partly due to the lack of a drug monitoring program in Missouri. “The ease and availability of prescription opiates is unparalleled. Missouri is the only state without a prescription drug monitoring program, which is the way doctors are able to tell if people are going from one provider to another to what’s called doctor shop.”
Ellis and Patty Fitzwalter of Dellwood shared their story of losing their son to a heroin overdose.
“If you never believed in the concept of Heaven and hell before, I can tell you that there is a hell and that hell is watching your child self destruct before your eyes and being completely helpless to stop it. “ said Patty Fitzwalter.
Jimmy Fitzwalter added, “If we can help just one more family from going through that hell, it’s worth it.”
The D-E-A will host a prescription drug take-back day on Saturday at the Florissant Police Department. Unused or expired medications will be collected in the lobby of the police department from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.