State takes action on opioid issue

Published 9:00 am Friday, August 4, 2017

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant’s new opiate task force is already getting results.

The task force assembled by the Governor, including members Josh Horton and Oxford Police Chief Joey East, has made an initial 41 recommendations aimed at law enforcement, and some aimed at prevention and treatment in the effort to save lives.

“These are our neighbors, our friends and family members,” Bryant said, referring to those in the state suffering from opiate addiction and death.

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Among the courses of action is that Mississippi State Troopers and other state law enforcement officers will begin carrying an overdose antidote, Gov. Bryant announced this week.

The Department of Mental Health is issuing 1,450 doses of naloxone nasal spray to troopers and narcotics agents, paying for it with part of a $3.6 million federal grant.

“I think you’ll see a reduction in the number of lives that are lost,” Bryant said.

He’s undoubtedly right, and this is a good step by the state.

The antidote is proven to save lives and once saved individuals have the chance to enter treatment and recovery.

Last year, 211 people were identified as having died from overdoses in Mississippi, according to the Associated Press but are sure that deaths are underreported.

We appreciate the effort by Gov. Bryant in establishing and leading the task force and we appreciate those like Horton and Chief East who are committed to finding solutions and making a difference.