KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The opioid epidemic impacting Missouri is showing no sign of slowing down. In early February, UMKC received an $8 million grant to help address the issue.
"Part of that will go to building the capacity of the workforce in Missouri to better treat people who have substance abuse disorders and, in particular, opioid abuse disorders," said Laurie Krom with UMKC.
In 2016, more than 900 people in Missouri died from overdosing on opioids. According to state data, one in every six deaths was opioid-related.
"We have 144 people a day dying from opioid related reasons around the country and part of the reason we have not been able to address the opioid epidemic is because we don't have the workforce capacity to do so," said Krom. "This money will go to provide training and assistance to build the capacity of physicians and counselors to provide treatment in evidence-based care."
Krom says 419,000 people in Missouri have diagnosed substance abuse disorders. She says 17,000 of those people are children between 12 and 17 years old.
"Kansas City, St. Louis and southwest Missouri are really being impacted by the opioid epidemic, so the federal government is giving money to provide care for this," said Krom. "This grant money is going to help those in the state improve their capacity to meet the needs of those who have those disorders."