As Mississippi battles the opioid epidemic those on the front lines are waiting to hear what a recent declaration from President Trump means for the state. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics reports some 170 people have died of opioid-related overdoses this year. Director John Dowdy is traveling the state, talking to groups about the epidemic. MBN and other agencies are hosting town halls meetings to educate people about opioids. This month a Mississippi federal grand jury indicted a Chinese National who manufactured tons of fentanyl and other opioids to sell in the U.S. John Dowdy.
"That is going to have a substantial impact I believe on the availability of the fentanyl coming into this country. We're hoping with that with the president's proclamation of the opioid emergency we may see some expanded efforts to try to curtail some of the fentanyl and other opioids coming in from foreign countries," said Dowdy.
Last week President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a National Public Health Emergency. Those working to combat opioid abuse aren't sure what the designation means for Mississippi. It doesn't provide additional funding. The emergency does allow shifting grant monies to combat abuse and expands telemedicine in rural areas. Adam Moore is with the Mississippi Department of Mental Health.
"What kind of final determination may come out of that I think we're still waiting on hearing," said Moore.
In a statement, Governor Phil Bryant says he's grateful to the president for recognizing the gravity of this issue. The governor added the task force he assembled is ready to help.