Opioids topic of town hall meeting in Picayune – Hattiesburg American

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Mississippi is on track to break the record of opioid-related deaths again this year, and officials are worried about what that means for the future of the Magnolia state.

A town hall meeting in Picayune will address the growing impact of opioids in communities across the state.

The meeting is hosted in partnership with several Mississippi agencies, including the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Public Safety, the Bureau of Narcotics, the Board of Pharmacy, and the Mississippi offices of the FBI.

The meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 21 at the First Baptist Church of Picayune, The Link Center, 401 Goodyear Blvd.

There will be a discussion with representatives from those host agencies, as well as local officials and professionals.

This meeting is just one in a series of town hall meetings that are open to the public and being held throughout the state to educate communities about the growing issue of opioid abuse.

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More: 4 charged in Pine Belt prescription opioid drug investigation

“In Mississippi, one in 10 people misuse prescription drugs,” said Diana Mikula, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Mental Health. “Opioids have a tremendous impact in all of our communities.  Addiction doesn’t discriminate. It occurs in families from all walks of life.”

Prescription drug abuse has surged 400 percent in the past decade, and many teens now say it is easier to acquire prescription drugs than it is to buy beer. According to the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, for the past three years there were 486 reported drug overdoses in Mississippi. Of those reported, 394 were opioid related.

In 2016, there were 3,574,662 prescriptions written and 201,224,298 dosage units dispensed for opioids in Mississippi. That equals to roughly 70 pills for every man, woman and child in Mississippi.

For more information, contact Angela Mallette with the Mississippi State Targeted Opioid Project at (601) 398-4406.

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