by: Alisa Nelson, Missouri Net

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified 220 U.S. counties at risk of outbreaks of H.I.V. and Hepatitis C because of the opioid crisis – thirteen are in Missouri. The CDC lists Iron, Bates, Cedar, Hickory, Ozark, Wright, Ripley, Crawford, Madison, St. Francois, Reynolds, Washington and Wayne counties as vulnerable.

Iron County Sheriff Roger Medley tells Missourinet affiliate KREI in Farmington the addictive prescription drug epidemic is not letting up.

“We just now at the tip of the iceberg. It’s going to manifest into something that no one is expecting,” he says. “Actually, I think Iron County ranks 1 or 2 in the whole state as to population ratio to the fatalities.”

Neighboring Kentucky has 54 counties on the CDC list. Tennessee is not far behind with 42 counties. West Virginia has at risk 28 counties.