Sense of Community

March, June, September, December

From poverty concerns to major policy decisions, this series dives beyond the headlines to provide in-depth coverage of issues facing people and organizations in the Ozarks. KSMU's team of reporters combine for 10 stories each quarter, to air the final weeks of March, June, September and December.

Eric Moffitt
Scott Harvey / KSMU

For those struggling with addiction, Eric Moffitt’s advice is that “If you want something you’ve never had you’ve gotta do something you’ve never done.”

Moffitt, who has been free of drugs and alcohol for three years, says changing course can begin through simple steps like attending a meeting and listening, not using today, or focusing on the positive rather than the negative. 

“Anything that helps the addict focus on a higher goal, a more consistent road to travel. It’s different for everybody,” says Moffitt.

Michele Skalicky

The name of the subject in this story has been altered to protect his identity

"Ryan" is addicted to heroin.  He wished to remain anonymous, but he wanted to share his story, which began at age 14 when a friend offered him hydrocodone, a prescription opioid, that the boy had been prescribed for a toothache.  The 25-year-old was only nine when his mom passed away from cancer, and, although he’d gone to counseling, he’d never found a way to deal with the trauma. 

reference.com

The name of the person in this story struggling with addiction has been changed to protect his identity

Prescription opioids help people deal with pain, but more and more people are abusing them, and some are dying from their addiction.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prescription opioids, such as hydrocodone and oxycodone, continue to be involved in more overdose deaths than any other drug.  And prescription drug abuse is a key risk factor for heroin addiction.

Michele Skalicky

Opioids, both prescription and illicit, are the main driver of drug overdose deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.   More than 33,000 people died in the United States in 2015 from opioid overdoses, the latest year for which numbers are available. 

Greene County had 97 overdose deaths in 2015, and, of those, 61 were opioid-related.

Dierk Schaefer / Flickr

One in every twelve kids in Greene County between 6th and 12th grades is misusing prescription drugs—that’s according to the Missouri Department of Mental Health’s Behavioral Health Profile. And take a guess at the average age for taking that first sip of alcohol: here in Greene County, it’s 13 years old.

All this week, we’re looking at what substance abuse means for our region. 

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