SSM Health Medical Minute – 2019 was a record year for drug overdose deaths

Medical Minute

ST. CHARLES, Mo. – Drug overdose deaths in the United States jumped last year by a projected 4.8 percent to set a record high, according to preliminary data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

The CDC reported 70,980 projected overdose deaths in 2019, more than the previous record of 70,699 deaths set in 2017, and experts fear the numbers could be even worse next year, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Locally, SSM Health Treatment and Recovery programs are reaching out to make adults struggling with substance abuse disorder aware of their programs. During the pandemic, calls from family members and friends have increased. In St. Charles, the Treatment & Recovery program offers a comprehensive outpatient treatment program that allows patients to work through addiction treatment without putting life on hold. Programs are ideal for people with a strong support system, a stable living situation and the internal motivation to change their lives. The program meets three times a week in group settings, each session carefully screened and social distance measures in place. All participants are required to wear masks, and even go home with the pen and paper they used during the meeting.

Erin Bufford, a behavioral health specialist in St. Charles, says opiates have widespread availability to attain.

“The struggle, right now, is finding treatment facilities. Especially with the state of everything going on right now, there’s lots of facilities closed or restricted on taking patients,” she said. “There’s also really long waitlists to get into other programs. We’re here to get some early intervention set up for patients and any other resources we can help with.”

The number to call for Outpatient Treatment and Recovery in St. Charles is 636-947-5578.

At SSM Health, the team develops individualized treatments for each patient’s complex stabilization needs and works with patients to identify and develop the resources necessary to bring about a new beginning.

To get more information about SSM Health Treatment & Recovery programs across the area, click here.

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