Mississippi State University’s National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center, NSPARC, will be receiving a $200,000 grant to help fight against the opioid crisis.
The grant is coming from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration, HRSA, and will be used to help NSPARC compile and analyze data in efforts to prevent opioid abuse, treat addiction, and help law enforcement combat this crisis across the state.
The project will serve 67 HRSA-designated rural counties in Mississippi and two counties that contain eligible census tracts.
A statewide consortium of agencies that have a vested interest in ending the opioid epidemic has been formed as well and in addition to NSPARC, the agencies include the Mississippi Board of Pharmacy, Mississippi Department of Human Services, Mississippi Public Health Institute, and the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.
Using the existing State Longitudinal Data System architecture as a framework, NSPARC plans to establish a statewide clearinghouse where data from multiple entities can be collected, integrated and aligned, providing partner agencies with data-driven decision-making tools and maximizing efficiency of Mississippi’s resources strategically and in high-needs areas.
“The data we collect, align, and analyze will play a significant role in responding to the opioid crisis in Mississippi,” said Domenico “Mimmo” Parisi, executive director of NSPARC. “Our consortium is committed to using data to prevent opioid misuse and abuse, treat those who suffer from addiction, and to help enforce federal and state regulations on prescription and illicit forms of the drugs. We are dedicated to helping Mississippi prevent a full-blown opioid epidemic.”
According to a 2018 report by the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, the highest percentage of opioid prescriptions are being provided to Mississippians residing in rural counties across the state.
The report said an increase in overdose deaths in conjunction with the fact that 81 percent of Mississippi counties meet the HRSA-designation of “rural,” gives strong indication that the opioid crisis will evolve into a statewide opioid epidemic if a plan for prevention, treatment, and recovery is not rapidly implemented.