UMSL Addiction Science Team signs onto statement remembering overdose event, calling for change

by | Feb 6, 2023

The statement included recommendations such as expanding access to naloxone, clean syringes, drug checking and other harm reduction tools to combat the overdose crisis.
Members of UMSL's Addiction Science Team stand together on the steps in the lobby of the Science Learning Building

Members of UMSL’s Addiction Science Team joined community partners in releasing a statement marking the one-year anniversary of the mass overdose event in the Central West End that killed nine people, and they recommended investments to combat the overdose crisis. (Photo by August Jennewein)

This week marks the one-year anniversary of the deadliest mass overdose event in St. Louis history.

Between Feb. 5 and Feb. 7, 2022, a total of 11 people overdosed on fentanyl-tainted crack cocaine, resulting in nine deaths, at Parkview Apartments and nearby Park Place Apartments on Forest Park Avenue in the Central West End.

Members of the Addiction Science Team at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, working with community partners, have been at the forefront of ongoing efforts to combat the overdose crisis in St. Louis and across the state.

They are part of the Community Engagement on Trauma, Equity, & Renewal – or CENTER – initiative, which released a statement on Friday to mark the anniversary and call for change.

“One year later, we take time to acknowledge the painful, mass overdose event that occurred this time last year at Parkview Apartments taking 9 of our neighbors’ lives,” read the statement signed by the CENTER team, which includes representatives of the Addiction Science Team, The T, the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, Family Care Health Centers, the St. Louis Integrated Health Network, the Community Health Worker Workforce Partnership, the Behavioral Health Network of Greater St. Louis and the St. Louis Regional Health Commission.

“As we honor them, we must also recognize the 652 additional members of our community who needlessly passed away in St. Louis City and County last year due to the fentanyl-poisoned drug supply and lack of access to life-saving naloxone, effective treatment and supportive recovery services.”

The statement noted that more than have of the people lost to overdose last year in the St. Louis region were Black or African American.

It also pointed to policies and priorities that “are making it harder for people to get the life-saving assistance they need.”

The statement included recommendations for immediate investments in same-day access to respite and recovery housing; same-day access to substance use drop-in centers and treatment clinics; care navigators, community health workers, peer specialists and patient advocates; and universal access to naloxone, clean syringes, drug checking and other harm reduction tools.

Read the full statement, at

Steve Walentik

Steve Walentik