(KFVS) - According to the CDC, three Missouri counties and one Illinois county rank in the top 100 of 220 counties identified at risk for HIV outbreaks because of the opioid epidemic.
"We think this is a wild fire, where if we don't get it under control we will just continue to see an escalation in deaths," said Dr. Randall Williams, Director of Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
Ryan Essex with Gibson Recovery Center said prescribed opioids and methadone and heroin are very similar.
"Which is why patients tend to go from one to the other if they run out of their prescription," said Essex.
And when users don't use clean needles, diseases like HIV can spread.
St. Francois, Reynolds, and Madison County in Missouri, along with Hardin County in Illinois rank in the top 100 counties out of 220 at risk for outbreaks of HIV because of the opioid epidemic.