Opioid town hall meeting held to educate public - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Opioid town hall meeting held to educate public

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

Hundreds were in attendance at a Town Hall meeting titled "Death, Cost, and Destruction: The Impact of Opioids in Your Community". One of the major points state leaders are trying to hit home is that it doesn't matter your race, your age, your gender - the opioid crisis affects all of us.

Several state agencies have teamed up to educate the public about the magnitude of the opioid epidemic. Their philosophy: Prevention is key.

"It's not just a Mississippi problem, it's a community problem," said Michael Jordan with the Mississippi Opioid Treatment Authority. "It's going to take all of us working together to combat the disease of addiction and the opioid epidemic."

Governor Phil Bryant created a task force trying to shift away from drug arrests, and focus more on treatment.

"The message we're trying to send here is hope," said Marshall Fisher, Mississippi's Commissioner of Public Safety. "I think it speaks volumes when you have people from law enforcement standing next to people in treatment professions saying 'Look, we realize you need help. We want you to get help.'"

Police and the general public now have access to Narcan, a drug that saves people during an overdose.

"This new delivery system allows you to give it subcutaneous, by shot, or by nasal spray, and that allows you, or a police officer, or a family member to give it. And it's a life-saving drug," explained Dr. Randy Easterling, the Vice Chairman of Governor Bryant's Task Force on Opioid and Heroin Addiction.

Doctors are also being asked to step up to try to keep addiction from happening in the first place.

The important thing is, give the smallest number of pills possible, for the shortest number of days. That is a critical thing," added Dr. Easterling.

According to the CDC, 91 Americans overdose on opioids each day.

Representative Chris Bell is the one who requested the town hall in Hinds County.

"The more you learn, the better you know, and this is an educational piece here today," said Representative Bell. "We're just trying to get the word out to let individuals know there is help for you if you're stuck in this opioid crisis." 

  • To contact Mississippi's Department of Mental Health, you can call Michael Jordan at 601-359-6515, or Ann Radio at 601-359-6252.
  • The Department of Human Services can be accessed through Jacob Black at 601-359-4458.
  • For Hinds Behavioral Health Service, you can contact Chan Williams at 601-321-2400.
  • If you'd like to reach the Harbor House of Jackson, you can call Trost Friedler at 601-371-7335.

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