The St. Francois County Health Center and SEMO Behavioral Health are hosting a Community Connection Night on Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Farmington Civic Center.
The public is invited to come hear how the opioid crisis is being addressed in St. Francois County and learn more about local resources for prevention, treatment, and recovery.
St. Francois County Health Center Assistant Director Amber Elliott said that people can expect to hear a message of hope at the Connection Night.
“Almost everyone has been affected by the opioid crisis in some way,” said Elliott. “But one of the biggest barriers we are facing is still stigma and the belief that this only happens in other communities to other people.”
Elliott added that the Connection Night will be focused less on the problem and more on solutions.
“It’s happening here; it’s happening now, and we are stronger as a community when we can come together,” she explained. “We want to talk about what is being done and the ways we can all be involved in moving things forward.”
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Speakers during the evening will include a local treatment provider, a peer specialist in long-term recovery, a prevention specialist, law enforcement personnel, and a representative from the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Elliott said that a wide range of topics will be covered including opioid use disorder; what to expect during treatment and recovery; how to reverse opioid overdoses; the Good Samaritan Law; and the state of the epidemic in Missouri.
Every day 91 Americans die due to an opioid overdose from prescription painkillers and heroin. According to data from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, St. Francois County has the fourth-highest rate of death due to opioid overdose in the state.
“These statistics are more than just numbers,” Elliott said. “As a community, it’s important for us to remember that these are our friends, our family, our neighbors, and the people we go to church with.
"We need to continue telling and hearing these stories so we remember that all of these numbers represent people we know and love. ”
For more information about the Community Connection Night or the opioid epidemic in St. Francois County, contact Amber Elliott at the St. Francois County Health Center at 573-431-1947, ext. 113.