According to the Mississippi Department of Mental Health, prescription drug abuse has surged 400% over the past decade, causing more than 550 deaths in the state from 2013 to 2016.
"Unfortunately my son only had six months of sobriety when he got a weak moment and lost his life to this disease," said recovering addict Aden Giles.
State Leaders say they hope holding town halls like the one in Brandon will help all Mississippi communities realize that this is an epidemic effecting everyone and one that cannot be solved with officers just making an arrest.
"We are over prescribing and we are over manufacturing," said Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Marshall Fisher. "We've got people who should be taking aspirin, Advil, and Tylenol, but you can't walk into an emergency room without somebody handing you a prescription."
After losing her son and recovering from her own addiction, Giles hopes to inspire those fighting addiction to get help and to educate others on what to look for so that your loved one isn't the next to be killed from an overdose.
"I struggled with it and it was a progressive disease for me," said Giles. "As I got older, I became more of a heavy drinker, then turned to drugs. I lost everything; lost my family, my children, everything I own, my career."
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