Local Opioid Task Force looking for volunteers - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Local Opioid Task Force looking for volunteers

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The Opioid Task Force in Hancock County is looking for volunteers. The Opioid Task Force in Hancock County is looking for volunteers.
Ada Bair leading the presentation at Memorial Hospital. Ada Bair leading the presentation at Memorial Hospital.
Stats show opioid abuse growing over the years. Stats show opioid abuse growing over the years.
The opioid epidemic isn't going anywhere, anytime soon, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The opioid epidemic isn't going anywhere, anytime soon, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Former opioid addict, Tammy Grisham, says he wants to help others in the community. Former opioid addict, Tammy Grisham, says he wants to help others in the community.
CARTHAGE, Ill. (WGEM) -

The opioid epidemic isn't going anywhere, anytime soon, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

According to state health agencies there were just over 1820 opioid-related deaths in Illinois in 2016. In Missouri, opioids killed just over 900 people in 2016. That's a 35% increase from the year before. 

Iowa is much lower compared to other states with just under 150 opioid-related deaths in 2016, but government sources say opioid use has more than tripled in the Hawkeye State since 2005.

"It's a problem," said former opioid addict Tammy Grisham. "It's an addiction. No one sets out to be a drug addict."

Grisham was hooked on pain pills for ten years. 

"I have spinal stenosis and a few other things wrong with my back and arthritis," said Grisham. 

A prescription for pain turned into an addiction  Her road to healing began after hitting rock bottom five years ago. 

"Withdrawals are horrible and I went through them a few times but I'd be right back on them but I wanted that sensation, that feeling," said Grisham. "The problem is that it took away from my children and I can never get that back."

Now that Grisham is sober, she wants to give back to her community which supported her through addiction and recovery. 

It's why she showed up on Thursday at a meeting in Carthage, looking for volunteers to serve on the Opioid Task Force in Hancock County.

"We're seeing it more in our emergency department when we see people coming into our clinic settings," said Ada Bair, Memorial Hospital CEO and Hancock County Senior Services. 

Bair says education is key to overcoming the opioid epidemic.

"We need to be doing a better job about helping them find alternatives, rather than just writing a prescription for pain," said Bair.

If you missed Thursday's meeting you can call Bair at Memorial Hospital. She can give you more information on the Opioid Task Force and how to get involved.

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