Addiction in St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, along with most of Missouri, was previously thought of as the “Meth Capital of the World” but as new laws and different drugs have become available, the desire for illicit methamphetamine has fallen. Despite meth’s comeback in recent years, with a cheaper, purer product, opioids and a new strain of K2 pose a more prevalent danger to the city.
The Toll of The Opioid Epidemic in St. Louis
The consistent rate of drug-related deaths in St. Louis is among the worst in the country. With the wave of the opioid crisis, St. Louis is among the cities hurt most by the addictiveness of prescription drugs. The epidemic has been the cause of an increasing amount of deaths, averaging at 23 per 100,000 people from 2012 to 2016. These numbers have radically increased in recent years, however, totally eclipsing the number of deaths from a mere 6 years prior.
In 2016, opioid-related deaths alone rose to 273 from 131 the previous year. Though that number declined to 243 in 2017, the number of cases that involved fentanyl rose from 56% to 84%. More and more users in St. Louis are overdosing on fentanyl without their knowledge. Men and women in St. Louis who buy heroin often find that their purchase has been cut with fentanyl. Without proper knowledge of the substance, people cannot dose properly and overdose.
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St. Louis Addiction Statistics
In 2017, 243 people died in St. Louis from opioid overdose.
Of the 243 deaths, 84% were tied to the presence of fentanyl.
In the first three months of 2018, there were 462 calls to 55 different poison centers in regard to K2.
The K2 Outbreak in St. Louis
Many people think that drugs like K2, a synthetic form of cannabis, are harmless. However, the synthetic chemicals used to spray down the plant matter can range in properties that vary based off provider. Side effects can include seizures, hallucinations, and nausea. A special strain that has been spotted in St. Louis contains a prominent anti-coagulant ingredient found in rat poison that causes users to bleed out.
Many are tempted by K2 for its high levels of THC and that it won’t show up on a drug test. However, the allure is also a large part of the danger. K2 producers get around the law through regular recipe change ups. Once one ingredient is banned, they find another. People who smoke K2 expose themselves to a myriad of substances that they have no knowledge of, many of which are highly toxic. In its latest iteration, 3 have died from K2 use and 123 have been hospitalized. People rushed to the emergency room after they smoke K2 are often kept for several days before being released. What makes it worse, is that there is no pharmaceutical drug to treat a K2 overdose. Overdose from opioids can be stopped by Naloxone, an opioid antagonist. Without exact knowledge of what goes into that specific blend of K2, there is no way to easily treat it. This leads to the permanent brain damage and even death of many who use K2.
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Treatment in St. Louis
The drug crisis in St. Louis is permanently destroying the lives of many individuals. People who smoke K2 are damaging their bodies in ways they can’t recover from, even with rehabilitation. The only way to get better is to stop before it’s too late.
Coming to terms with addiction is the first step to recovery. If you suffer from addiction but don’t know where to go, reach out to a dedicated treatment provider. They can help you plot out your next steps toward recovery.