KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- A death investigation is underway after the bodies of two men were found Tuesday morning in a vehicle at a gas station.
Kansas City police were called about 6 a.m. to 75th Street and Troost Avenue.
Investigators have not said how the two men died, but police are investigating it as a possible drug overdose.
The identities of the two victims have not been released.
You’ve likely heard of the opioid crisis in the United States, but how do we rank in terms of overdoses in the metro?
According to the CDC, drug overdose deaths are down about 3% across the country from July 2017 to 2018.
“I think part of that is because of increased awareness,” Susan Whitmore, President & CEO at First Call, said.
However, that’s not the case for the greater Kansas City metro area. They connect people with resources and do substance abuse prevention work.
She says overdose rates have continued to rise at a pace of about 14% since 2009. And in the African American community, overdose deaths rates are up by 30% since 2009.
“I think it’s absolutely related to not enough support and the way that we don’t have enough treatment centers in the inner city, we don’t have enough clinics that provide medication assisted treatment, there aren’t resources,” Whitmore voiced.
Last summer, Jackson County filed a lawsuit against several pharmaceutical companies, claiming they promoted, “deliberate and deceptive” marketing strategies for opioid painkillers.
“I would absolutely say that the pharmaceutical companies are at the heart of this problem in our country,” Whitmore stated.
Whitmore says the medical community has since changed prescribing protocols, but the heroin trade has increased as a result. She says there are many options for people to get help it just takes someone to intervene.
“With a substance abuse disorder people can intervene at any time at any stage of the disease, it is a progressive disease and it is fatal if left untreated in many cases so the earlier someone asks for help the better,” Whitmore said.
According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Bureau of Vital Statistics, more than 300 Jackson County residents died of opioid overdoses between 2013-2017.