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Opioid expert speaks to Heartland coalition

Medical expert on opioids speaks to Heartland coalition about the number one public health crisis in Missouri. (MGN Online)

Each day two Missourians die due to the opioid epidemic.

Words said by former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens before signing his executive order instituting a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP).

In 2017, 951 Missourians died from opioids, up from the previous year, which had 908 opioid related deaths.

Despite more counties pledging involvement in the P-D-M-P, deaths continue to rise across Missouri and the country.

Now one Heartland community is taking action.

Recently, Adair County community leaders and businesses created the Adair County Opioid Commission and have started to discuss ways they could combat this epidemic in their own back yard.

Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, has been involved statewide helping to combat the epidemic.

"And at the end of the day, where the rubber meets the road, is the local health department. So we're looking at ways to increase the amount of connectivity between the federal government and local county governments to treat these systemic problems like opioid overdose," Dr. Williams said.

By travelling the state and listening to the ways opioid addiction has affected Missourians, Dr. Williams believes there is a way to bring awareness to the issue, spur innovative action and address specific problems different communities may face.

Starting last year in Springfield, Dr. Williams has led nine different summits to accomplish all those goals for different communities across the state.

Williams has hope that this boost in community outreach will help quell what has become a nationwide plague, but knows that more work needs to be done.

For more on the opioid crisis in the country and Heartland, click here.

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