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Mississippi is ramping up its opioid awareness campaign

Mississippi is ramping up its opioid awareness campaign
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Stand Up Mississippi

September is National Recovery Month and states are trying to reduce the number of deaths caused by opioid overdose. In a new report, health officials are recommending some practical tips- a few of which are already underway in Mississippi. MPB's Ashley Norwood has more.

The American Medical Association and Manett Health are taking a look at how states are combating the opioid epidemic and what seems to be working. Joel Ario is with Manett Health. He outlines six areas where he believes more work and greater access are needed.

"Remove barriers to medication assisted treatment or MAT- that really is the goal standard. Second area enforce parity laws, third area network adequacy and fourth area is to improve pain care. So our fifth area is nalaxone to reverse an overdose and then finally evaluation," said Ario.

Mae Slay is the outreach coordinator for StandUp Mississippi. It's an opioid awareness campaign. She attributes the state's progress to the campaign's distribution of Nalaxone, also referred to as Narcan.

"As of today we have distributed over 18,000 doses of narcan to law enforcement and first responders across the state. As of today we know of 94 lives that have been saved through the narcan distribution that we have through the Department of Mental Health," said Slay.

Slay says the campaign also funds 14 treatment centers in communities across the state but substance use disorders continue to be an issue. Last year in Mississippi there were 342 reported overdose deaths- more than half of them opioid-related.

"The biggest thing I want anyone to know is that recovery is possible. And that it doesn't matter how low you had to go. You can get better. A lot of people don't know that services are available," said Slay.

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