St. Louis hard hit by opioid epidemic
ST. LOUIS (AP) — As Missouri struggles with the epidemic of opioid abuse, no place in the state has been hit harder than St. Louis.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports there were 23 heroin deaths per 100,000 city residents from 2012 to 2016, the highest rate in Missouri and nearly double the rate in Jefferson County, which had the second-highest rate.
The city of St. Louis also leads the state in all types of opioid deaths and emergency room visits caused by prescription painkillers and heroin use.
James Shroba of the Drug Enforcement Agency office in St. Louis said 80 percent of heroin addicts start by abusing prescription painkillers. They eventually switch to heroin because it is easier to get and cheaper, selling for as little as $5 to $10 a dose.