HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Mississippi Department of Mental Health along with a other state departments held an opioid town hall meeting Tuesday night in Jones County.
Mississippi's law enforcement, political officials. narcotics and pharmacy boards came together to discuss the impact of opioids in Southern Mississippi communities.
According to the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, the US accounts for only 5 percent of the world's population; However, when it comes to drugs, Americans consume about 80 percent of opioids manufactured in the world.
“80 percent of individuals who are going through treatment for heroine or for fentanyl addiction, started off with an opioid, narcotic or medication prescribed by their physician. It’s not the physician fault, its not anybody’s fault, it’s just the addicted nature of the property,” said Michael Jordan, State Opioid Treatment Authority.
Officials say change in behavior, appearance and activities are just a few indicators to identify possible drug abuse.
"We’ve got to change the nature of the way we look at this disease and we’ve got to sit down and ask those difficult questions, sometimes of our loved ones of what’s going on with them," Jordan said.
According to the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, in 2015 opioid addiction killed as many people in the USA as car accidents or firearms. However, the state continues to control the issue through the Mississippi Monitoring Program.
"There is a requirement...that all pharmacies that reports into this system every 24 hours all dispensing of control substances and certain other drugs that are prescribed in the state and into the state, its required by law that they be recorded," said Steve Parker, Deputy Director of Mississippi Board of Pharmacy.
There are several resources available to Mississippians for treatment admission, opioid use disorder, over dose deaths and more, You can reach the Mississippi Department of Health at (601) 359-1288 or their 24-hour hotline at 1-877-210-8513. Click the link to be redirected to the Mississippi Department of Mental Health