Opioid abuse is sweeping the nation and last night at the Tommy Dulaney center, state and local officials, held a town hall meeting to discuss how the epidemic is impacting the community.
“What we’re seeing is an increase in the number of overdose deaths due to opioid addiction. That’s prescription medication as well as heroine and fentanyl and other illegal substances,” said Michael Jordan, who works for the State Opioid Treatment Authority Bureau of Alcohol Drug and Services.
The opioid epidemic plays a role in illicit drug use. According to statistics, at least 94 percent of those using heroine, say they first became addicted to prescription drugs. At last night’s event,
residents were informed on how to tell if someone is addicted to prescription drugs.
“If you’re talking about a loved one, you’ll see a change in behavior from things they would normally do. They become more introverted. They quit going to school, or they quit going to work,” said Jordan.
To solve the problem, officials explained that the medical community is trying to change prescribing guidelines for opioid drugs, but Jordan added that everyone’s help is needed.
“We’re going to challenge the community. When we leave here tonight, what is the community going to do?”
He said the community can start by putting those struggling with addiction in contact with the resources available.
“All 82 counties in the state of Mississippi are served through a community mental health center. You’re no different here. You have Weems Community Mental Health Center here in this area that will provide alcohol and drug services to those in need of treatment.”
For those who may be struggling with an opioid addiction, Weems Community Health Center says financial assistance is available for treatment to those who qualify.