Mississippi officials are rolling-out a new public awareness campaign to educate people about opioid abuse and options for treatment. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
A coalition of Mississippi state agencies are starting a public awareness campaign to combat the opioid crisis. It's called "Standup Mississippi." The initiative includes radio and TV ads.
"Opioid addiction is effecting friends, family members and neighbors in nearly every community in our state. So if you or someone you know is battling addiction. You are not alone," says radio ad.
The project also features billboards and a new website standupms.org. Diana Mikula with the state department of mental health is coordinating the initiative.
"I hope this campaign will reach out to all Mississippians to give them access to treatment options, services that are available in the community, educate them about opioids and the addictive nature of an opiod," said Mikula.
The goal of the project is to get Mississippi families talking about opioid abuse and seeking help. John Dowdy with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics chairs the Governor's Opioid and Heroin Study Task Force. He says opioid abuse is overwhelming.
"We've surpassed our drug overdoses for last year about 85, 87 percent of those are opioid related, We've had 222 reported to the bureau of narcotics through Thanksgiving." said Dowdy.
Dowdy says the death toll in the state could reach 300 by year's end. Department of Safety Commissioner Marshall Fisher.
"It's not going to fix everything in one fell swoop. I think it's a very good start. Somebody asked me what the key is going to be. I think it's education," said Fisher.
A $3.6 million dollar federal grant to the state department of mental health will fund 90 days of treatment, with the first 30 in a residential setting.