Opioid overdose numbers continue to increase across the U.S. and local authorities say the epidemic is starting to hit close to home.
Lieutenant Brad Bollinger say’s, “It’s definitely an issue that people need to be concerned about as the area across the state have had issues with opioids and just gradually it’s going to be here in a matter of time.”
Chief of police Rex Mueller say’s, “Yes we have had recent deaths attributed to opioids and the thing is though we as a nation are kind of becoming more aware of the opioid crisis”
Chef of Police Rex Mueller believes this problem needs to be addressed immediately in order to prevent Sioux City from following the national trend.
Mueller say’s, “There are a lot of sides to this and it is truly a public health crisis. We’re losing people because of it and we’re becoming more aware of it. So just because we are now seeing some of those deaths in our area doesn’t mean that they weren’t happening before, but those were undetected.”
Data from emergency departments show U.S. opioid overdose numbers continue to increase across all five regions. The largest being the Midwest at 70%. One thing local experts agree on is that education and awareness are of the top priorities to combat this epidemic.
The medical director of the Jackson Recovery Centers, David Paulsrud say’s, “Education, early intervention, treatment, that’s the most important things that can be done.”
“I think that any approach needs to include a lot of different aspects, it needs to include prevention programs, it needs to include treatment programs, it need to include an assistance to law enforcement and information sharing so there’s a lot of sides to this issue that need to come into play for us to be effective,” says Mueller.
The Sioux City police department plan on addressing more of these issues at its next Town hall meeting on April 19th. The focus will be on opioid abuse and Kevin Gabert from the department of health will be presenting. All are welcome to attend.