Last night, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics held the first opioid town hall of 2018 in Kosciusko.
With the opioid epidemic exploding across Mississippi and the United States, Kosciusko’s Mayor Jimmy Cockroft said education is key to combatting the opioid crisis.
“It was good information for the public to know how to get help for those who need help and as they say, just stand up and share your story,” said Jimmy Cockroft, Mayor of Kosciusko. “Sometimes it will just start with a car wreck, you have a car wreck, you get a pain pill and the next thing you know it turns into something else. Personally, last night I learned that heroin is an opioid. I never really understood it like that, but they did a great job of explaining what opioids are and how they transition from a prescribed medicine to something else because of the addiction that gets into their brain.”
Cockroft said that he has personally seen the impact of opioid abuse on the city of Kosciusko.
“I don’t know that there is a small town in Mississippi that doesn’t have it, [opioid abuse] I know we have it,” Cockroft said. “Maybe not in the numbers that some areas have, but I have personal knowledge to know that we struggle with it.”
In the past year, there were 67,000 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. with 256 of those in Mississippi.
“Currently, the leading cause of death from opioids in Mississippi is from prescription medication,” said Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics Director John Dowdy.
Dowdy added that during the meeting panelists shared information on how individuals in the state can receive help for drug and opioid addiction.
“I think people are shocked when they realize how significant the problem is,” Dowdy said. “We’ve had some good news that we’ve been able to ascertain so far this year. The number of prescriptions that were written in 2017 decreased from 2016, the number of dosage units that were dispensed also decreased. It was a fairly substantial amount, but I think it is still indicative of an over-prescribing problem that we are having, but most of all, people are concerned because they are being impacted either personally or through family members by this epidemic.”
The next town hall will be held on April 24th in Corinth.