Health and public safety officials in the area held an emergency meeting on Thursday after seeing a significant spike in drug overdoses over the previous 24 hours.
Health officials say that final totals have not been reported but first responders have reported at least 40 overdoses which a local official has attributed to a batch of heroin. Officials have not reported if any of the overdoses resulted in fatalities.
Springfield Fire Chief David Pennington called the meeting and coordinated emergency alerts including notifying media about the rash of overdoses.
“I felt it was important to treat this as the emergency situation that it is, and further coordinate a response. It will take all of us working together to address the disease of addiction which has impacted every corner of our city,” Pennington said in a statement.
The Springfield-Greene County Health Department says 42 overdose deaths have been reported year-to-date.
A working group was created in the Thursday meeting that will focus on the issue and look for additional ways to take action and maintain discussion on fighting the problems with drug abuse in the community.
“We need people to know we are in the middle of an epidemic. Because coming out of addiction takes time and can take multiple attempts, we need to educate the entire community on lifesaving measures,” Dr. Jake Spain, Mercy Emergency Medicine physician and Springfield Fire Department’s Medical Director, said in a statement.
The Springfield Recovery Community Center offers training to the public on Narcan and dealing with overdoses. If you are in a situation where you need Narcan, you can message SRCC on Facebook and they will help.