SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A new task force has formed in Greene County to address the area’s high drug poisoning death rates.
At the Drug Poisoning Task Force’s first meeting, the founder, David Stoecker, talked about why he created the group and what he wants to accomplish.
“I’m going to refer to it as drug poisoning and not a drug overdose,” said Stoecker. “There’s a reason for that. Part of it is the stigma that rests with the word drug overdose. It’s funny it’s alcohol poisoning but drug overdose because when someone overuses alcohol, of course, it’s a poisoning which puts the blame on the alcohol. But when somebody gets too much of an illicit substance, we call it an overdose, so it puts the responsibility on the person who used.”
The Missouri Institute of Mental Health said Greene County saw a 120% increase in drug poisoning deaths from January to June of 2020.
Greene County’s medical examiner said there was an 88% increase from March to June in 2020 in the area.
Stoecker said he hopes the task force will help lower the numbers in drug poisoning, educate the community and have people continuously work together to save lives.
“I see this to be something that is going to go on because we’re going to have this need regardless,” said Stoecker. “We’re going to need to create something so that we’re all at the same table.”