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Over 300 attend 'Opioid Summit' in Kirksville

According to the Missouri Department of Health, more than 900 people in Missouri died from drug-related overdoses in 2016. (Louis Finley/KTVO)

The Adair County Heath Department held an "Opioid Summit" on Tuesday to address the public health crisis in Missouri.

Health officials from Jefferson City, Missouri, were among the more than 300 people in attendance.

"What we're hearing is, just like every other part of Missouri we've been to, it is a huge problem," said Director of Missouri Health and Senior Services Randall Williams.

Williams called the epidemic a "wildfire."

"If you don't stop it, it will spread," Williams said.

Last year, more than 900 people in Missouri died from drug-related overdoses.

"There are 2.3 people in Missouri dying daily from the opioid epidemic," said Director of Missouri Department of Social Services Steve Corsi.

Williams recently met with President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C. along with representatives from six other states to discuss the "public health crisis."

"I think what's fueled [the drug epidemic] is this has come from physicians. These are legal drugs. 80-percent of people who end up on heroin started with legitimate prescriptions of orals drugs," Williams said.

Director of Missouri Department of Health Mark Stringer said, "there is no single solution to the opioid epidemic."

"We've got to take a multifaceted approach, and I think these summits really help accomplish that," Stringer said.

This "Opioid Summit" is one of several joint ventures between counties within Missouri and the Missouri State Health Department.

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