The opioid epidemic continues to ravage the nation and the Magnolia state. Department of Public Safety Commissioner Marshall Fisher said that as of the end of March, there were 57 opioid-related deaths recorded in the state. In 2017, reported opioid deaths reached 255.
“Of the overdose deaths, of the 57 since the first of the year, three were from fentanyl, eight were from heroin, three were from a combination of fentanyl and heroin, and 29 were opioids,” said Fisher. “That’s not good. As far as drug arrests, as of the end of March, they’ve made 338 arrests for everything from cocaine to diverted pharmaceuticals, marijuana, methamphetamine, those sort of things.”
Fisher said they have created a coalition with the Department of Mental Health’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Office, the Board of Pharmacy, the Board of Medical Licensure, and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. He added that they are continuing to hold opioid town halls throughout the state to bring knowledge and awareness to citizens.
There will be another opioid town hall meeting Tuesday the 24th of April in Corinth. Fisher added that they have seen some positive results from the meetings.
“We’re making some headway, but we’ve got a long way to go…” Fisher said. “It’s worse now than I have ever seen it and I started in law enforcement in 1977. I don’t see it getting any better any time soon.”
Fisher said that the drug overdoses are punctuated by the fact that the market is flooded with illegal drugs.
“We’ve got heroin coming across our borders, fentanyl along with heroin and the fentanyl is coming out of China,” Fisher said. “Those people are not our friends, they are into making money, but of course we’ve got a market here for it.”
He added that Troopers and Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics agents are carrying Narcan and added that there are more sheriff and police departments across the state that are carrying the nasal spray that is used to combat the effects of a drug overdose.