Drug overdose is the leading cause of death for young adults in Missouri — and 70% of those deaths involve opioids.

In the last two decades, the United States has seen an unprecedented increase in opioid use, addiction, and overdose deaths. Here in Jackson County, the number of non-heroin opioid overdose deaths nearly tripled between 2016 and 2021.

More recently, there’s been a sharp increase in overdose deaths involving a synthetic opioid called fentanyl. Because it can be made cheaply, fentanyl is often used during the manufacturing of other illicit drugs (including knockoff prescription pills) to increase their potency. A tiny amount of fentanyl can be fatal. 

The best way to stay safe is to stay informed! Read on to learn what the overdose crisis looks like in Jackson County + what resources are available to help.

Youth + Opioids

In Jackson County, 1 in 5 drug overdose deaths are kids under age 15. It’s never too early to talk to your kids about the dangers of drug use, including opioid abuse.

Make sure your kids know the risks of taking prescription pills that aren’t theirs, whether for fun or for self-medication. Let them know that if they’re ever struggling, there are healthy ways to cope + resources like 988 available!

Fentanyl + Fake Pills

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), more Americans died from fentanyl in 2021 than from cars or guns.

Fentanyl is a cheap but powerful synthetic opiate that black-market drug manufacturers use to cut costs. It can be mixed into other illicit drugs (like cocaine) or passed off as a different prescription pill, such as counterfeit Xanax, oxycodone, or Adderall. Just 2 mg of fentanyl, the equivalent of a few grains of sand, can be lethal.

To protect yourself, only take pills prescribed to you from a pharmacy. Just because a pill came from a friend doesn’t mean that it’s safe. You can’t tell if a pill contains a lethal amount of fentanyl by looking at it.

safe medication disposal

Remember to keep your prescription medications secure.

Did you know most teens get their opioids from a family member or friend? To prevent your leftover medication from being misused, learn how to dispose of it safely at home or at a site near you.

If you or someone you know overdoses, don’t hesitate — call 911 immediately!

In the case of a medical emergency like an overdose, Missouri’s Good Samaritan law protects both the 911 caller and the person overdosing from arrest for minor drug & alcohol offenses.

Need Help? In Crisis?

resources + more info

Looking for treatment? Want to make sure your teen knows about opioid misuse? Check out the resources below.

Opioid Addiction Resources

  • First Call — Recovery and support services for those impacted by opioid addiction, including a crisis line.

 

 

  • NoMoDeaths — Find free Naloxone, treatment options, and support groups near you.

 

 

Educational Resources

  • Parent Up KC — Tools and strategies to help parents talk to their kids about alcohol and drugs.

 

More Jackson County Opioid Data

Visit our opioids data dashboard to find detailed statistics about on overdoses, prescriptions, and more.

resources + more info

Looking for treatment? Want to make sure your teen knows about opioid misuse? Check out the resources below.

Opioid Addiction Resources

  • First Call — Recovery and support services for those impacted by opioid addiction, including a crisis line.

 

 

  • NoMoDeaths — Find free Naloxone, treatment options, and support groups near you.

 

 

Educational Resources

  • Parent Up KC — Tools and strategies to help parents talk to their kids about alcohol and drugs.

 

More Jackson County Opioid Data

Visit our opioids data dashboard to find detailed statistics about on overdoses, prescriptions, and more.