Drug overdose deaths are at an all-time high in Mississippi - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Drug overdose deaths are at an all-time high in Mississippi

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Mississippi has a record high number of people dying from drug overdoses.

There were 211 deaths reported last year and the Bureau of Narcotics thinks the true number is even higher. 

"In March 2017, MBN averaged a drug overdose death investigation every other day," explained Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics Director John Dowdy.

Dowdy said it was opioids that accounted for 81 percent of the overdose deaths in Mississippi in the last four years. 

"We toss that word around,opioids, all the time," noted Dowdy. "But I mean basically what you're talking about is prescription painkillers."

Getting a handle on prescribing habits is just one way the state is working to curb the issue.

"Last year, 2016, there were enough prescription painkillers dispensed to Mississippi so that every living breathing person could've had approximately 70 dosage units each," Dowdy said. "That's over 201 million tablets dispensed in Mississippi."

There is a statewide prescription monitoring program offered through the Board of Pharmacy. Dowdy says the issue is that all the doctors and pharmacists will need to use it for it to be most effective and many of those addicted to the pills often move to a cheaper alternative, heroin. 

Awareness is the piece of the solution that all of those involved say can't be forgotten, because too many people say something along these lines.

"That prescription drugs are much safer than street drugs," noted Daisy Carter, Executive Director at the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of Central Mississippi Area. "They're actually the same. You can have an overdose of a prescription pain medication as well as a an overdose of crack cocaine or meth. Addiction is addiction across the board. It doesn't matter what drug are actually using."

Anyone is invited to the Opioid and Heroin Mississippi Drug Summit that is being planned for July 11-13 at Broadmoor Baptist Church in Madison. For details and registration information, click on this link.

If you would like more information about preventing prescription drug abuse, you can find information and statistics at this link.

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