Town Hall meeting will discuss Picayune's Opioid problem


A town hall meeting Tuesday will address the growing impact of opioids in Picayune and the surrounding communities.

The meeting will be hosted in partnership with several Mississippi agencies, including the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Public Safety, the Bureau of Narcotics, the Board of Pharmacy, and the Mississippi offices of the FBI. There will be a discussion with representatives from those host agencies, as well as local officials and professionals.

The town hall will take place Tuesday, Nov. 21, at 6:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Picayune, located at 401 Goodyear Boulevard.

According to the website, Tuesday’s meeting will be just one in a series of town hall meetings that are open to the public and being held throughout the state to educate communities about the growing issue of opioid abuse.

Pearl River County is ranked third in the state for opioid overdose deaths in 2017, with 21 victims; before Pearl River County is Harrison County with 24 and Hinds with 25, according to Mississippi Department of Public Safety Bureau of Narcotics.

“Last year, Pearl River County wasn’t even in the top 10 and unfortunately the year isn’t over yet,” Mississippi State Targeted Opioid Project Outreach Coordinator Angela Mallette said. “I think the reason the deaths have increased in Pearl River County this year is because of the rise of heroin in the state and the county’s proximity to the coast and New Orleans.”

Prescription drug abuse has surged 400 percent in the past decade. Many Mississippi teens say it is easier to acquire prescription drugs than it is to buy beer, today. According to the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, 89,203 opioid based prescriptions were written in Pearl River County in 2016, that’s roughly 1.61 prescriptions per person.

“In Mississippi, one in 10 people misuse prescription drugs,” said Diana Mikula, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Mental Health. “Opioids have a tremendous impact in all of our communities. Addiction doesn’t discriminate. It occurs in families from all walks of life.”

For more information, contact Angela Mallette with the Mississippi State Targeted Opioid Project at (601) 398-4406.

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