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Spike in drug overdoses prompts ‘emergency’ warning from Missouri fire chief

A 24-hour spike in drug overdoses in Springfield, Missouri, alarms Fire Chief David Pennington so much that he wants the community to mobilize, with public health and safety officials meeting Thursday afternoon to discuss what they called an “epidemic.”

“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 news release.

While the exact number is unknown, emergency responders have reported “double-digit numbers of overdoses in the past 24 hours. It is not yet known if any are fatal,” the release said.

Officials agreed to create “a working group that will continue action and discussion,” the release said.

Per the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, there have been 42 fatal overdoses so far this year.

“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,” said Dr. Jake Spain, Mercy Emergency Medicine physician and the Springfield Fire Department’s medical director, in the news release.

Those who may be suffering from addiction can find resources at health.springfieldmo.gov/mentalhealth.

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Tyler Carter, a Real-Time reporter based out of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, is an avid lover of media, fitness, sports and telling impactful stories. Previously, he served as a trending/breaking news/crime reporter for AL.com and The Mississippi Press.
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