Community leaders react to drug overdoses

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — 21 opioid overdoses were reported in the last 36 hours in Springfield. Two of those individuals have died.

That string of overdoses led emergency officials to discuss working on neighborhood surveillance and creating community dialogue.

Fire chief David Pennington called for establishing open communication meaning he wants those conversations to be effective.

“Those that are in our community who are using drugs, why we want them to get off the drugs, but many of them aren’t ready to do that,” Pennington said.

Mayor Ken Mcclure says the city has to get on top of this problem.

“Are we losing the battle? No. But we are identifying the problems and we are trying to figure out the best way to deal with those problems,” Mcclure said.

Mcclure says the two overdoses both had something to do with fentanyl and heroin.

An addiction recovery specialist, David Stoecker, says fentanyl can be deadly.

“Typically it takes about five to fifteen minutes after somebody injects heroin before they overdose,” Stoecker said. “With fentanyl, people sometimes don’t even make it through their shot. They still have a syringe in their arm.”

Stoecker believes that fentanyl strips could help drug users.

“If somebody were to buy methamphetamine, heroin, they could sit there and test it to ensure there’s no fentanyl in the supply that they got,” Stoecker said.

Preferred family healthcare is at 2415 West Catalpa Street, Stoecker says they will provide Narcan free of charge.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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