PINE BELT (WDAM) - Opioid abuse is a serious public health issue.
The leading cause of injury death in the United States is drug overdose,and a majority the deaths from drug overdose deaths involved an opioid. Overdoses from prescription opioid —drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, Percocet and methadone - are a driving factor in the 15-year increase in opioid overdose deaths.
Mississippi in is the midst of an opioid epidemic that mirrors the nation's struggle with prescription pain pills and heroin abuse. Many patients get prescription opioids from friends or family who are legitimately receiving these prescriptions from licensed prescribers.
For this reason, the vast majority of prescription opioids that are ultimately used by people with opioid use disorders originate from licensed prescribers.
Last year, 108 Mississippians died from opioid abuse according to the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. Even here in the Pine Belt, multiple law enforcement agencies like Hattiesburg Police and the Lamar County Sheriff's Department have started carrying Narcan.
The drug used to reverse the opioid overdose effects. Putting people in jail won't solve this crisis according to Sam Owens, Director of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.
Opioid addicts need to be involved in treatment programs.
Consider This: Here are a few things to protect our loved ones and fight the opioid epidemic.