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Author Sam Quinones discusses Mississippi’s opiate threat July 10

Journalist and author Sam Quinones will be joining state officials next month to discuss his experiences with the opioid crisis that is affecting Mississippians of all ages, races, and backgrounds.

Author of “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic,” Quinones will be available from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. on July 10 at Broadmoor Baptist Church to talk about the opiate epidemic, its roots, and the current state of affairs as law enforcement and health professionals fight this epidemic. Attorney General Jim Hood is expected to join at 11 a.m., along with agency representatives from the Department of Mental Health, the Bureau of Narcotics, and the Board of Pharmacy.

In his book “Dreamland,” Quinones takes a look at the city of Portsmouth, Ohio and its transformation from a thriving, blue-collar community to a town devastated by addiction. The culprits were not only illicit drugs and the dealers who pushed them on the community, but the rising count of opioid medications prescribed during the 1990s. Though he ultimately finds hope, his book describes the threats opiates pose for communities throughout the country.

Quinones is in Mississippi for the Mississippi Opioid and Heroin Drug Summit July 11-13 at Broadmoor. The conference is aimed at informing the community about the growing epidemic of opioid and heroin abuse. Mississippi is a leading prescriber of opioid painkillers, with the equivalent of approximately 70 opioid pills for every man, woman, and child in the state in 2016.

“In Mississippi, about one out of every 10 people are misusing prescription drugs,” said Melody Winston, Director of the Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Services at the Department of Mental Health. “Addiction is a disease, and it is a disease to which everyone is susceptible. “We invite everyone to join us and learn how we can both prevent and treat this disease from claiming any more of our communities,” Winston said.

The Opioid and Heroin Drug Summit is a partnership between the Department of Mental Health, the Bureau of Narcotics, the Board of Pharmacy, the Department of Public Safety, the Attorney General’s Office, the Mississippi State Medical Association, and Capstone Treatment Center. Everyone is invited to attend and learn how Mississippi can continue the fight against addiction. For more information, visit www.drugsummit.com.

For more information about Sam Quinones or his work, visit http://www.samquinones.com.

Information provided by the Mississippi Department of Mental Health

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