St. Charles County families react to President Trump's comments - KMOV.com

St. Charles County families react to President Trump's comments on opioid crisis

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The opioid crisis is a problem killing hundreds in Missouri each year. (Credit: KMOV) The opioid crisis is a problem killing hundreds in Missouri each year. (Credit: KMOV)

ST. PETERS (KMOV.com) – The opioid crisis in Missouri is considered an epidemic. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump addressed the overwhelming problem, but stopped short of declaring it a national emergency.

“Nobody is safe from this epidemic that threatens young and old, rich and poor, urban and rural communities. Everybody is threatened,” said President Trump during a meeting with health officials and members of his administration.

It’s a problem killing hundreds in Missouri each year. Each of those victims with a name, a story and a family left behind.

He's the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about when I go to bed,” said Peter Stenger who lost his son Mitch to an overdose in 2014. Mitch was 23.

Gee Vigna is another parent who’s lost a child. Her daughter Nicki died from an overdose at age 20. Vigna started organizing "Stop Heroin" walks five years ago. They walked on Tuesday in St. Peters.

St. Charles County has been hit hard by the epidemic. Harris House, a treatment facility in St. Louis, is opening a new facility in St. Charles to deal with the growing crisis. Their COO, Wes Tobin, says attention from the White House helps with making more people realize they’re not alone, but he says more needs to be done.

“Make treatment more accessible for more people, continue to care under the medical health care act,” said Tobin.

The President did not declare the crisis a national emergency which could have opened up additional funding. But he did say education for young people is key, something Peter Stenger agrees with.

“I don’t think we’ll ever put the drug dealers out of business but I think if we can get in the mindset of the children to teach them,” Stenger said.  “No one taught my son about heroin.”

If you or your child needs help there are resources:

Harris House: https://www.harrishousestl.org/

Walking for Wellness Stop Heroin: http://www.stopheroin.org/walking-for-wellness.html

Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recover: http://www.monetwork.org/

Copyright 2017 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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