Drug And Alcohol Addiction In Columbia, Missouri
Columbia is the fastest-growing and fourth most populous city in Missouri and the center of Boone County. Substance abuse has inflicted a heavy toll on Columbia and all of Missouri in the past years. From 2001 to 2016, the rate of deaths caused by overdoses on illegal drugs rose by 243%. Opioids, especially Heroin, Fentanyl, and Fentanyl analogs, were involved in 70% of the fatal overdoses. There have been an increase in Opioid overdoses in Columbia this year, with half of the overdoses occurring between August and October. The main concern that the community of Columbia is facing is not just the increase in overdoses, but the fact that half of those who overdosed this year had no idea that Fentanyl was present.
If you or a loved one is considering treatment, there are some options within the state of Missouri, but your best fit may require some travel. Cody’s Gift is a nonprofit organization founded in the city whose goal is to educate and prevent substance abuse disorders (SUD), especially in teens, teach coping skills, and raise the awareness on mental health issues. Organizations, like Cody’s Gift, can be found throughout the city.
Impact Of Opioids
Fentanyl is a synthetic Opioid which is even more potent or more lethal than Heroin. In 2018, about 1,132 people in Missouri lost their lives to Opioids. The Opioid epidemic has arisen from the prescription of addictive Painkillers because many who try the drug for the first time have no idea how addictive it is. In 2015, a year when 672 Missourians suffered a fatal Opioid overdose, doctors and pharmacists in Missouri issued 5.2 million Painkiller prescriptions. Currently, for every 100 people in Missouri, there are 80 Opioid prescriptions. In Columbia and Boone County, according to the Missouri Department of Health, 51 people died from an Opioid overdose over the course of 4 years, from 2013 to 2017. By March 2018, Opioids claimed an additional 3 lives in Boone County.
Methamphetamine Production In Columbia
Until recently, Missouri had the highest rates of Methamphetamine production in the United States. Missouri is no longer the “capital of Meth production” thanks to restrictions on the sale of Pseudoephedrine, the drug which Meth manufacturers use to create their dangerous and illegal product. However, Meth production in Missouri persists and the state has begun to suffer an influx of Meth which traffickers import from other states and from Mexico. Meth abuse is becoming more prevalent in Boone County, and police in Columbia are working diligently to arrest Meth traffickers and confiscate their supply. In 2018, Columbia police arrested a man who was carrying 251 grams of Meth worth $25,000.
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What Is Columbia Doing To Fight Substance Abuse?
The city of Columbia has adopted several important measures to help residents who are addicted to Opioids or other drugs. In 2017, Columbia set up a prescription drug monitoring program. In Boone County, jails are beginning to provide doses of Naloxone (also known as Narcan) to inmates who are living with addiction upon release. Naloxone is a medication which reverses the effects of Opioid overdose and has saved the lives of 1,087 people in Missouri since late 2016. Police officers and firefighters in Columbia now carry Naloxone. Additionally, Columbia has sponsored Prescription Drug Take Back Events where Boone County residents can safely relinquish dangerous Opioids to the police. At one such event in 2018, Columbia police gathered 826 pounds of prescription Opioids in two days. There are also drug courts in Boone County which help residents with a SUD begin to live a drug-free life. Boone County drug courts have helped more than 650 county residents achieve their recovery.
Finding Help In Columbia
There is hope in Columbia for people who are trying to overcome substance abuse. If you or someone you know is trying to start a new life without addiction, contact a treatment provider today to discuss treatment options.
Nathan Yerby is a writer and researcher. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.
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- Allison, Alexis. (2018). Opioid-related deaths in Missouri grow, but more slowly. Columbia Missourian. Retrieved on November 28, 2018, from https://www.columbiamissourian.com/news/local/opioid-related-deaths-in-missouri-grow-but-more-slowly/article_59c418ea-7a48-11e8-bd4d-ef3336db86a9.html
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- Charles Dunlap. (2021). Half of this year's drug overdose deaths recorded in Columbia have occurred since Aug. 1 Retrieved on December 22, 2021 from: https://www.columbiatribune.com/story/news/local/2021/10/20/alarming-increase-drug-overdose-deaths-columbia-mo-leads-public-meeting/8530914002/