Local forum raises awareness for growing number of drug overdose - KCTV5

Local forum raises awareness for growing number of drug overdoses

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The justice department has called for law enforcement to identify links between over-prescribing doctors and distribution networks across the country. (AP) The justice department has called for law enforcement to identify links between over-prescribing doctors and distribution networks across the country. (AP)
FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -

The United States is experiencing an epidemic when it comes to drug overdoses.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says overdose deaths involving pain relievers and heroin have more than tripled since 2000.

Those in the drug treatment community held a forum last night to tackle the issue.

It was a Kansas Heroin Community Forum, designed to raise awareness to what American Addiction Centers says is a growing problem, even here in the KC Metro.

Members of law enforcement, first responders and mental and behavioral health professionals led the heroin forum Wednesday night in Lee’s Summit.

They addressed questions and concerns from those who attended.

This local forum comes on the heels of a national push to address the alarming overdose rate. The justice department has called for law enforcement to identify links between over-prescribing doctors and distribution networks across the country.

Prosecutors are being urged to more readily share information across state lines.

Kansas City drug treatment counselor Andy Garcia-Ruse says addiction can start with just a simple pain medicine.

“I think parents naively leave it laying around the house not thinking that oh my teenage son or daughter’s going to get into my medicine cabinet,” Garcia-Ruse said. “When they do. They’re getting in. They’re abusing it. And unfortunately, it’s leading up to heroin abuse by the time they graduate out of high school.”

Missouri is the only state in the U.S. that doesn’t have prescription tracking.

“The prescription drug-monitoring system we have in Kansas, K-TRACS, we don’t have that in Missouri, Garcia-Ruse said. “And so pharmacists are really at a disadvantage when they’re just seeing tons and tons of prescription medications coming in because they don’t know who’s drug shopping, who’s being overprescribed, and they can’t call the doctors and say hey, are you overprescribing this?”

The CDC says in 2014, there were one and a half times more drug overdose deaths in the U.S. than deaths from car crashes.

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