Representatives from area health and public safety agencies convened an emergency meeting this afternoon to discuss a dramatic spike in drug overdoses in our area over the last 24 hours.

Although numbers are still fluid, emergency responders have reported double-digit numbers of overdoses in the past 24 hours. It is not yet known if any are fatal.

Because fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel are often the first the scene of an overdose, they were the first to spot this alarming spike. Springfield Fire Chief David Pennington convened an emergency meeting this afternoon coordinated a joint response, which includes this public announcement.

“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.

Prior to this recent spike, 42 overdose deaths have been reported to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department 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,” Dr. Jake Spain, Mercy Emergency Medicine physician and Springfield Fire Department’s Medical Director.

*According to officials at CoxHealth Center for Addictions, drug addiction impacts people from all age groups, socioeconomic backgrounds and does not discriminate.

If you or someone you know is fighting addiction, local resources are available. A full resource list can be found at health.springfieldmo.gov/mentalhealth.