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In light of a dramatic increase in overdoses in recent days, area partners have come together to save lives, share hope for recovery and highlight available resources for those struggling with the disease of addiction.
For many, addiction is misunderstood or seen as a moral decision, but Springfield-Greene County Health Department Director Clay Goddard urges others to recognize it as a complicated and difficult-to-overcome disease.
“The conversations we will have to have in our community in light of this response will be uncomfortable for some. This is a disease with horrible consequences for the person suffering as well as the people around them. But the idea that we can tell people just not to use is unrealistic. We have to meet people where they are and treat them with compassion and respect,” Goddard said.
During this current overdose situation, it would be safest to avoid drug use entirely. However, for those still struggling with addiction, the Harm Reduction Coalition, a national organization combating the stigma surrounding drug use, offers the following advice:
More safety information and other valuable advice can be found at www.harmreduction.org
Narcan is an opioid overdose reversal drug that restores breathing. Narcan is available without a prescription at most local pharmacies. The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is currently pursuing options for no-cost Narcan supplies and will update the community when those become available.
For first responders needing Narcan, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department is a state distribution site. For more information, contact Stephanie Woehl at (417) 864-1658.
“We aren’t saying anyone should use illegal substances,” said Dr. Jacob Spain, Mercy ER physician and medical director for the Springfield Fire Department. “What we are saying is if you are using drugs, the goal is for you to immediately seek treatment and stop using. If not, then until that time, we want you to use as safely as possible until you are willing to make the decision to stop.”
Stigma is a powerful force that can keep people from seeking help either with harm reduction or with recovery. The National Alliance on Mental Illness offers ways that all of us can combat stigma which include:
Burrell Recovery Services offers harm-reduction and Narcan training and education to clients, family and friends to combat overdose deaths. Burrell has medication first appointments available for opioid use disorder, and a full array of treatment options for both adults and youth in southwest Missouri. These services can be accessed at 417-893-7760.
The CoxHealth Center for Addictions offers a variety of options for individuals as they deal with substance abuse, including medication-assisted treatment. Patients may self-refer to the center when they are ready, or they can also be referred through a physician. More information on available programing is available by calling 417-269-2273.
Jordan Valley Community Health Center offers various programs focused on opioid misuse that integrate counseling services and Medication Assisted Treatment. Jordan Valley uses a medication first model of care to encourage continued program engagement, as well as providing connections to employment placement, legal counsel and housing. Find out more by calling 417-831-0150.
A listing of additional resources for mental health and substance abuse needs is available at health.springfieldmo.gov/mentalhealth