(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) A potent drug is taking over the streets of St. Joseph.
“When you have six people overdose in one night, that’s all you need to know,” said Mark Puckett, co-founder of St. Kolbe-Puckett Center for Healing. “I told the powers that be in this community a year ago that Fentanyl was coming to our town and it was coming to our town with a vengeance and it’s here.”
Puckett reports nearly 60 overdoses since March 1st and a sobering 110 dating back to the beginning of 2021.
“It’s definitely a crisis,” said Steve Groshong, Director of Operations for Buchanan County EMS.
Buchanan County parademics are feeling the pinch as overdose calls start to take over their already hectic days. Groshong said, "It’s been very noticeable, we’ve been staying very busy. Over the years, we’ve had peaks and valleys, but this one’s come on really fast since the first of the year.”
Fentanyl is also catching the attention of Buchanan County's Drug Strike Force.
Sheriff Bill Puett said deputies are out actively trying to clean up the streets of this lethal drug, “We’re aware that there’s been an influx of Fentanyl and opioids in the community and that’s why we’re aggressively attacking this issue. The quantity has not been located, but they have been working the suppliers and some investigations to try to get arrests made. There have been some arrests made. We anticipate some in the near future.”
Puckett adds that area treatment centers are strechted thin treating St. Joseph's drug scene.
He believes it's going to take the whole community to save lives from this opioid crisis.
“It’s a huge problem in St. Joe," said Puckett, "If we can save their life and get them into treatment, but if they’re dead, we can’t help them.”
On Wednesday night, St. Kolbe-Puckett Center for Healing held a community outreach event to raise awareness on Fentanyl and on the life-saving drug Narcan which is known to help in cases of a drug overdose until paramedics arrive. The treatment center has free boxes of Narcan residents can pick up.
Authorities said if you see someone experiencing an overdose, call 911 and administer Narcan if on hand.
To report any information on Fentanyl or drugs in St. Joseph, call the tips hotline number at 816-238-TIPS or the Buchanan County Drug Strike Force at 816-233-3377.