Local law enforcement, mental health professionals team up to save lives

(The following is a press release from the Mississippi Department of Mental Health.)

March 14th, 2018 (Jackson, Miss.) – The Mississippi Department of Mental Health (DMH) is partnering with the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, Marion County Fire Department, Hattiesburg Police Department, Columbia Police Department, and Columbia Fire Department to provide naloxone, a life-saving medication that blocks or reverses the effects of opioid overdoses. Delivery of Narcan and Training will be held at 10:30 am on Thursday, March 15, 2018 at the Civil Defense Training Room located at 502 Courthouse Square, Columbia, MS, 39429 .

The Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Services within DMH is providing the naloxone through funding provided by the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis grant awarded as part of the 21st Century Cures Act passed by Congress in December 2016. This partnership with local law enforcement agencies is consistent with final recommendations made by the Governor’s Opioid and Heroin Study Task Force.

“In the last six months, we have distributed over 7,500 units of Narcan to law enforcement and first responders around the state,” said Melody Winston, Director of the Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Services within DMH. “We have received reports of 35 lives saved by law enforcement officers using Narcan provided through this grant,” stated Winston, “we plan to continue these efforts in 2018 so this life-saving medication is available to all areas of the state.”

Michael Jordan, State Opioid Treatment Authority with DMH, also noted that House Bill 996, passed in Mississippi’s 2017 legislative session, allows for the provision of standing orders for naloxone at pharmacies across the state, which allows any individual to request to purchase naloxone at a pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription. Anyone interested in more information about the availability of naloxone should contact their local pharmacy.

“These partnerships to provide naloxone to communities throughout the state will help save lives,” said Diana Mikula, Executive Director of the Department of Mental Health. “Even with this medication, it is important to remember that this is no substitute for treatment. If you or someone else needs help, we urge you to reach out. There are people throughout the state who want to help you get on the road to recovery.”

For more information please contact Angela Mallette with Stand Up, Mississippi at 601-398-4406, or request Narcan online at www.standupms.org.

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