Picayune to host Town Hall meeting about opioid abuse

Published 7:00 am Thursday, November 16, 2017

Picayune will host a town hall meeting that will focus on the impact of opioid abuse and its rise within Pearl River County.

The meeting will take place Nov. 21 at 6:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Picayune, located at 401 Goodyear Boulevard.

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“Opioid overdose has sky-rocketed in the last couple of years throughout the country and the state of Mississippi,” Mississippi State Targeted Opioid Project Outreach Coordinator Angela Mallette said.

The Mississippi State Target Opioid Project is a task force created by Governor Phil Bryant in early January. Its focus is to work with state agencies such as the Department of Mental Health and Department of Public Safety to go into communities throughout the state and teach citizens about the dangers of opioid abuse, Mallette said.

According to the latest data by the Mississippi Department of Public Safety Bureau of Narcotics, 21 citizens of Pearl River County passed away so far in 2017 because of an opioid overdose. The statistic placed the county third in the state, behind Harrison (24) and Hinds (25).

“Last year, Pearl River County wasn’t even in the top 10 and unfortunately the year isn’t over yet,” Mallette said. “I think the reason the deaths have increased in Pearl River County this year is because of the rise of heroin in the state and the county’s proximity to the coast and New Orleans.”

In 2016, 89,203 opioid based prescriptions were written in Pearl River County. With an estimated population of more than 56,000 in this county, that put the number of prescriptions at 1.61 per person on average.

At the town hall meeting, representatives from the Department of Mental Health, Department of Public Safety and the Bureau of Narcotics will be present. Local representatives such as Picayune Mayor Ed Pinero, officers with the Picayune Police Department and members of the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors are expected to attend.

“If you have a relative or friend who has been affected by opioid abuse, please come out and learn how to help them,” Mallette said. “We have professionals who will be able to help anyone in the community, as we want the best for them.”