Governor Parson attends roundtable discussion on opioid crisis in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Governor Mike Parson attended a roundtable discussion in the City of St. Louis to discuss the opioid crisis on Wednesday.

The roundtable sought to explore ways to reduce opioid deaths through increased access to treatment, recovery support services, and ways to ensure first responders are equipped to handle opioid incidents.

“We want to save lives, but we also want to provide resources that help individuals on the road to recovery,” Parson said. “We’re focused on bringing together federal and local partners to help families affected by the opioid crisis, and we are very excited about combining available state resources with the City of St. Louis to help people in real time when they most need our help. As a former sheriff, I also understand law enforcement plays an important role in decreasing the amount of drugs on the street and appreciate the help from our federal partners at the FBI and DEA.”

The roundtable discussion was part of the Governor’s Healthcare Week, a week focused on key areas in healthcare in Missouri.

Participants included representatives from the FBI, DEA and the City of Louis, including their Department of Public Safety, Fire Department, and Department of Public Health. Mayor Lyda Krewson started the event with opening remarks.

“The opioid epidemic is one of the most pressing public health crises we have ever faced,” Krewson said. “It is tearing apart families and whole communities. It is critical that we respond in a very intentional way to both help prevent people from becoming addicted to opioids, and also treat those already addicted. The City of St. Louis is committed to working with federal, state, and regional partners to combat this epidemic.”

“As a Family Medicine physician working at Family Care Health Center, it is imperative that I take care of patients in the community and assist with infrastructure development for the current opioid drug poisoning crisis,” Kanika Turner, MD, MPH, Family Care Health Centers said. “I am excited to bring the medical, legal, and spiritual collaboration together to help our community function as a whole. We are ready for a change, and the change starts with everyone.”

“We have trained 6,500 people in using Narcan and have distributed 18,000 Narcon/Naloxone kits,” Dr. Randall Williams, Department of Health and Senior Services said. “While the rate of increase of opioid overdose deaths decreased from 35 percent to 4.7 percent over the last two years, we are now taking the next step to bring services to people at the time they overdose and help them to get treatment.”