St. Charles County, MO (KTRS) Efforts continue to raise awareness about the dangerous heroin and opioid epidemic in our country.
On Tuesday evening, Francis Howell High School hosted a Town Hall meeting to educate the community on this issue. About 100 people gathered in the school’s auditorium, where they were presented with a reenactment of a 9-1-1 call for a heroin overdose. They also heard from a panel of experts, including Lisa Cassidy, a paramedic with the St. Charles County Ambulance District, who says the prevalence of heroin and opioid abuse is high in St. Charles County.
“It’s very prevalent and I think the problem for so long was that St. Charles County wasn’t willing to admit there is a problem. It’s an epidemic out here and I feel very comfortable calling it an epidemic when were running as many calls as were are, we’re have as many people re-overdose. We’re seeing the same patients overdose again.”
Last year paramedics responded to over 400 heroin and opioid overdose cases in St. Charles County. This year that number is up by 17-percent in just the first quarter. The latest statistics show that there were 53 deaths in 2015 in St. Charles County as a result of heroin and opioid overdoses.
The St. Louis region had 462 heroin and opioid overdose deaths in 2015.
St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar also was among the panelists who spoke at the event. Lohmar said about two-thirds of the cases his office prosecutes are heroin or opioid related, many of which are property and theft cases.
“One of the most interesting about prosecuting those cases in our community is that it’s a suburban community. It’s a very affluent community and we’ve seen that heroin knows no boundaries. It doesn’t know geographic boundaries. It doesn’t know socio-economic boundaries and that’s been a big eye opener for our community.” Lohmar said.
Lohmar also spoke on the potency of today’s heroin. “It’s about five times more potent than it used to be in the 1970’s.” said Lohmar.