Industry News, Patient Care

St. Charles County Paramedic Leads Effort to #StopHeroin

If asked to name areas with drug problems, St. Charles County, MO is not likely to be near the top of anyone’s list. Several municipalities in this 592-square mile community have been named to Money magazine’s best places to raise a family list, several of the county’s school districts have been named among the best in the state, and median family income is the highest in Missouri. Despite these positive factors, this community, like many across the US, has a problem: heroin and prescription opioid addiction.

Numerous drug trends have taken hold on the community over the years: meth, K2 [synthetic marijuana] and bath salts [synthetic cocaine] have all left their mark on this St. Louis suburb, but to nowhere near the extent that prescription painkillers and heroin have of late. Since 2008, St. Charles County Ambulance District’s [SCCAD] heroin/opioid overdose call volume has more than doubled, and in 2016, is projected to hit 400; an astonishing figure for a community of approximately 385,000. St. Charles County saw its biggest jump between 2014 and 2015, when volume spiked approximately 40 percent.

Paramedic Lisa Cassidy hated seeing what is happening in her community, and approached SCCAD leadership about launching an awareness/prevention initiative. She poured over information, facts and figures on the heroin/opioid epidemic, and solicited help from fellow others to develop a cohesive infographic campaign that will span across SCCAD’s social media, newsletter and website during the month of August. In addition, she became a member of Community Resources United to Stop Heroin (better known as CRUSH) – a local coalition made up of individuals from law enforcement, school districts, treatment facilities and others. Her SCCAD campaign was so well-received that the group has opted to utilize the materials as well.

SCCAD’s #StopHeroin campaign kicked off on August 1 with this video, which as of 3pm today, has been viewed over 14,000 times on Facebook: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mioL0u4WYaw