Mississippi Addiction Conference, health officials call for actions to address drugs

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In the wake of five overdoses recently in the Hattiesburg area leading to one death, health professionals are calling for action to address drugs in Mississippi.

At the 11th annual Mississippi Addiction Conference doctors and other medical experts has details about their plans to make the state drug free.

It is a major issue sweeping the nation but little Americans are willing to discuss it.

The Conference Medical Director Gary Carr says, “These are illnesses that have long been stigmatized, and swept under the rug… and unfortunately they’re still not being taught in our schools.”

According to the state department of health deaths by overdose in the state have been on the rise every year since 2011 reaching nearly 350 in 2017. 

Now organizations like addiction campus are looking to fix it. 

Tommie Whitten says, “Treatment specialist we utilize a lot of experiential treatment programs, so as far as wilderness tracks, zip lining, equal therapy, trauma resolution, professional tracks. things that cater to an individual.”

For some, tackling this problem also means a change in how doctors issue medicine. 

Gary Carr says, “From the 90s through the 2000’s we’ve had an opioid crisis and a lot of that been driven by medicine we over prescribed…and been taught that these drugs are safe when I face they’re not.”

According to the medical experts here, any kind of drug addiction must be treated as a disease and not bad choices.

Tommie Whitten says, “It’s a family disease, it’s nota family disease and you can’t broad brush addiction. everybody is in a certain spot in their recovery, so we have different programs available through our company that we can help.”

Carr says, “At least 10-12% of our population has the genetic background for addiction and other things can prompt it like including childhood trauma and things like that.”

Anyone needing assistance with addiction services can contact the helpline at 1-888-614-2251.

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