JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A report from the Mississippi Opioid and Heroin Data Collaborative showed that drug overdose deaths in Mississippi have risen by 49% in one year (2019-2020).

According to the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH), opioids were a point of concern in the report. More specifically, overdose deaths caused by synthetic opioids like fentanyl were shown to have increased by 125% from 2019 to 2020.

The report stated that it’s becoming more common for fentanyl to be mixed with or substituted for other drugs before being sold. The sharp increase in deaths is affecting Mississippians under 35-years-old and in a racially broader group.

Additional data from the report is as follows:

Overdose deaths increased by 49% in Mississippi, (Courtesy: Mississippi State Department of Health).
  • Harrison, Pearl River and DeSoto counties accounted for 51.9% of all suspected overdose deaths in the second quarter of 2021.
  • Harrison, Hinds, Rankin and DeSoto counties accounted for 40.7% of all EMS naloxone administration in the second quarter of 2021.
  • DeSoto, Hinds and Rankin counties accounted for 28.7% of all drug-related arrests in Mississippi in the second quarter of 2021.
  • A total of 571 Mississippians were admitted to community mental health centers for all substance use disorders and 282 for opioid use disorders in the second quarter of 2021.

MSDH officials recommend keeping naloxone nearby and knowing how to use it if you or a loved one use opioids. Naloxone is available from pharmacies without a prescription.

Call the Mississippi Department of Mental Health at 1-877-210-8513 to get help for drug or opioid use. They will be able to determine the best kind of help, including medication-assisted counseling and treatment.

Read the full report here or read more about opioids in Mississippi here.