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Drug overdose awareness event held in Poplar Bluff

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 6:14 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 31, 2021 at 6:53 PM CDT
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POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. (KFVS) - Organizations in Butler County are coming together to raise awareness for those who lost their lives due to drug overdose.

“In 2020, there was a 30 percent increase in overdose deaths nationwide,” Brandie Wilson said.

According to the CDC, opioids cause more overdose deaths than any other drugs.

Brandie Wilson, with Southeast Missouri Behavioral Health, was one of many to speak at Tuesday’s International Overdose Awareness Day event at Three Rivers College.

Wilson said this was the first Overdose Awareness Event to be held in the six county region SEMOBH serves.

“What this day really is is a time to bring people together and create space to grieve people that we have lost,” Wilson said.

She said 39 people from Stoddard, Butler, Ripley, Carter, Reynolds and Wayne counties died from drugs between 2019 and 2020.

“Meeting someone where they’re at and not leaving them there and working with them for them to create their own path to healing is really the way that we’re going to maneuver out of this,” she said.

“If we can have a conversation about cancer prevention, why can we not have a conversation about overdose prevention,” Corey Reynolds said.

Corey Reynolds is the behavioral health support program director at Three Rivers College. He wants people to know this topic is one that should be talked about all year round.

“Overdose just doesn’t occur in one moment or in one day. We have overdoses that occur every single day, every hour and it is absolutely devastating,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds is hopeful Tuesday’s event will reduce the impact of overdose in the community and take away the stigma surrounding it.

“A lot of the feedback is we have needed this. We have needed this so that’s very encouraging knowing that we are offering the community what the community feels like they need,” he said.

He hopes to bring this event to campus every year from now on.

Wilson said of the 39 deaths in the six-county region, 26 of them were in Butler County between 2019 and 2020.

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