Overdose Awareness event Thursday

Published 6:15 am Wednesday, August 30, 2023

As Mississippi grapples with rising rates of opioid overdoses, Cumberland Heights, a nonprofit organization committed to substance abuse treatment, is stepping up efforts to combat the crisis.

The organization will host an Overdose Awareness Day eventĀ from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Aug. 31 at the Old Armory Pavilion in Oxford. The event will memorialize those affected by opioid addiction, offer educational resources and aim to renew hope as the nation enters National Recovery Month in September.

Mississippi’s opioid crisis has escalated in recent years, evidenced by startling statistics. In 2020, Mississippi saw 586 drug overdose deaths, with 69% of those involving opioids. This represents an increase from 443 opioid overdose deaths in 2019.

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The rate of opioid overdose deaths in the state stands at 28.4 per 100,000 people, exceeding the national average of 21.7 per 100,000. Moreover, 52 percent of opioid overdose deaths in 2020 involved prescription opioids.

Beyond loss of life, the opioid epidemic has wreaked havoc on Mississippi communities, leading to increased crime, homelessness and poverty, and placing a strain on the health care system.

In 2020, 1,899 Mississippians were admitted to community mental health centers for substance use disorders and 1,062 specifically for opioid use disorders. Opioids were listed as the primary diagnosis for 727 patients in 2021.

Recent data from the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics (MBN) show that 352 of the 491 suspected overdose deaths in 2021 were opioid-related. The number of naloxone administrations, an emergency treatment for opioid overdoses, increased from 689 in the first quarter of 2022 to 711 in the same period in 2023.

The event is free and open to the public. For further details, visit the Cumberland Heights website or contact the organization directly.