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2,553,668
Total Opioid Prescriptions, 2019
197
Total Overdose Deaths, 2019
1,334
Total Number of Naloxone Administrations, 2019

Findings

  • During 2019, over 2.5 million opioid prescriptions were dispensed in Mississippi.
  • During 2019, more than 130.3 million opioid dosage units (e.g., pills) were dispensed in Mississippi.

Opioid Prescriptions, 2019

  • A reduction in the number of opioid prescriptions (-3.6%) was observed from the first quarter to the fourth quarter of 2019.
  • Compared to 2018, there were 226,554 fewer opioid prescriptions dispensed during 2019, representing an 8.2% decrease.
  • During 2019, there were enough opioid prescriptions dispensed for approximately 8 in 10 Mississippians to have 1 prescription.

Data Source: Mississippi Board of Pharmacy

Opioid Dosage Units, 2019

  • A reduction in the number of opioid dosage units (-3.6%) was observed from the first quarter to the fourth quarter of 2019.
  • Compared to 2018, the number of dosage units dispensed decreased by 10.6%, that is, by approximately 15.3 million pills.
  • During 2019, there were enough opioid dosage units dispensed for each Mississippian to have a supply of 43.7 dosage units.

Data Source: Mississippi Board of Pharmacy

Considerations

This report identified a considerable decline in the number of opioid prescriptions from 2018. Such downward movement could be driven, in part, by statewide educational initiatives. Nonetheless, Mississippi’s prescription rates remain high and warrant continuous educational outreach and preventive efforts. It should also be noted that The Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure revised its regulations on prescribing opioids and other controlled substances in October 2018, August 2019, and September 2019, respectively. Information about the new regulations can be found at The Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure’s website, The MS Board of Nursing’s website, and The MS Board of Dental Examiner’s website.

Findings

  • There were 4.4 opioid-related overdose deaths per 100,000 persons reported to the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics (MBN) in 2019.
  • In 2019, 130 (66%) of the 197 suspected overdose deaths reported to the MBN were opioid-related. The numbers of opioid-related deaths and total overdose deaths were 38.1% and 42.4% lower, respectively, in 2019 than in 2018.
  • The proportion of opioid-related deaths that involved heroin increased from 26.2% in 2018 to 40.8% in 2019.

Data Source: Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics

Number of Suspected Overdose Deaths reported to Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics by Type of Involved Substance, MS, 2019
Q1 2019* Q2 2019* Q3 2019* Q4 2019* 2019 Totals*
Prescription opioid related 11 17 7 6 41
Fentanyl related 3 1 6 5 15
Fentanyl and prescription related 5 5 8 3 21
Heroin related 7 12 9 11 39
Heroin and prescription related 1 1 1 2 5
Heroin and fentanyl related 3 4 2 0 9
Total opioid related overdose deaths 30 40 33 27 130
Other related overdose deaths 10 10 6 8 34
Prescription related overdose deaths 11 9 9 4 33
Total non-opioid related overdose deaths 51 59 48 39 197
Overall total suspected overdose deaths 51 59 48 39 197

Considerations

The accurate assessment of drug-related fatalities depends on complete and high quality data. The reliability of mortality data, however, is impacted by several constraints such as insufficient resources, training, or time for performing thorough death investigations. In addition, Mississippi lacks a centralized system for connecting different entities involved in the compilation and reporting of mortality data. Efficient collaboration among state agencies, educational outreach for coroners, and standardized protocols for drug overdose investigation and reporting are measures that can improve drug-related mortality surveillance. It should also be noted that the MBN does not include a death in the count until a toxicology report has been completed; therefore, currently pending cases will result in increased numbers in the future.

NOTE: In 2019, 49 of the 197 overall total overdose deaths also involved methamphetamines, as did 20 of the 130 total opioid-related overdose deaths.

Findings

  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS) data revealed that naloxone was administered 1,334 times during 2019, which is 32.3% less than the number of administrations in 2018 (1,970).
  • There were 44.7 EMS naloxone administrations per 100,000 persons in Mississippi in 2019.
  • On average, 111 naloxone administrations were reported in Mississippi each month during 2019.
  • Of the individuals who received naloxone and provided demographic information, 54.5% were male, and 70% were white. Over 38% of patients were aged 55 years or older. Eighty-five percent of the 1,179 individuals who provided geographic information were administered naloxone in their home county. These values are similar to 2018 data. Table 2 on p. 5 features demographic information of individuals who received naloxone from EMS in 2019.

*Transition in data reporting system may lead to future updates.

Considerations

The life-saving drug naloxone, an opioid antagonist, is used to reverse opioid overdose. The emergence and growing popularity of highly toxic synthetic opioid substances require the following state-level actions:

  • Facilitating and expanding access to naloxone for patients with opioid use disorders.
  • Providing training on naloxone administration for all first responders and all persons at-risk for opioid-related overdoses as well as their families, friends, and community members.

Important Message

The above graph documents only naloxone distributed through EMS. Additional distribution occurs through the State Targeted Responses to the Opioid Crisis (STR) grant and a standing order. In May 2018, State Health Officer of Mississippi, Dr. Mary Currier, signed a standing order that covers, without a prescription, the dispensing and administration of naloxone. The standing order was re-signed by Dr. Paul Byers, State Epidemiologist, in May 2019.

Findings

  • Suspected Overdose Deaths: The top 3 counties, Harrison (32), Hinds (20), and Rankin (17), accounted for 35.0% of all suspected overdose deaths in 2019. The 3 counties with the highest rates of overdose deaths per 100,000 persons in 2019 were Tishomingo (25.70), Montgomery (19.95), and Tate (17.39).
  • Naloxone Administrations: The top 3 counties, DeSoto (210), Harrison (206), and Hinds (103), accounted for 38.9% of all EMS naloxone administrations in 2019. The 3 counties with the highest rates of naloxone administrations per 100,000 persons in 2019 were DeSoto (115.38), Tunica (110.62), and Harrison (99.69).
Number of Suspected Overdose Deaths by County, MS, 2019
Number of Naloxone Administrations by County, MS, 2019*

Data Sources: Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics (left), Mississippi State Department of Health (right)
*Note: Transition in data reporting system may lead to future updates.

Findings

  • Table 3 and Figure 8 report opioid-related admissions to facilities certified by the Department of Mental Health (DMH). Data are based on one limited data source at this time. A more comprehensive universal data source for DMH is under development.
  • Table 3 indicates that, on average, there were 3.1 admissions per patient during 2019, a decrease compared to 2018 (3.8 adm/pt).
  • Opioids were listed as the primary substance for 58.5% of the 2,295 unique patients admitted in 2019. This 2019 percentage is lower than its 2018 counterpart. In 2018, opioids were the primary substance for 61.8% of the 2,829 unique patients.
  • Figure 8 displays the total (primary, secondary, and tertiary) admissions and unique patients. There were decreases in both total number of admissions and unique patients in each quarter compared to 2018. This trend should be treated with some caution because it may be influenced by the provisional nature of the 2019 data.

Number of Admissions and Unique Patients, Department of Mental Health, MS, 2019*

Q1 2019* Q2 2019* Q3 2019* Q4 2019* 2019 Totals*
Admissions Patients Admissions Patients Admissions Patients Admissions Patients Admissions Patients
Primary 1,325 403 1,127 372 875 302 617 266 3,944 1,343
Secondary 651 196 610 191 477 155 319 101 2,057 643
Tertiary 306 100 303 96 183 58 216 55 1,008 309
Total 2,282 699 2,040 659 1,535 515 1,152 442 7,009 2,295

NOTE: The number of admissions is consistently higher than the number of patients because patients can be admitted to multiple programs or relapse.

Findings

  • Table 4 and Figure 9 categorize the type of opioid involved in opioid-related admissions to facilities certified by the DMH.
  • The “other opioids” category includes prescription opioids and constituted 64.0% of all opioid-related admissions in 2019, a decrease from 71.6% in 2018. Heroin represented 35.3% of admissions in 2019 (compared to 27.0% in 2018), and methadone represented 0.7% (compared to 1.4% in 2018).
  • In 2019, the proportion of unique patients admitted for “other opioids” was 63.6%, a decrease from 69.6% in 2018. The proportion of patients admitted for heroin was 35.7% in 2019 (compared to 28.7% in 2018) and 0.7% for methadone (1.7% in 2018).

Number of Admissions and Unique Patients by Type of Opioid, MS, 2019

Q1 2019* Q2 2019* Q3 2019* Q4 2019* 2019 Totals*
Admissions Patients Admissions Patients Admissions Patients Admissions Patients Admissions Patients
Heroin 785 225 700 236 565 199 426 160 2,476 820
Methadone 25 9 15 3 6 2 1 1 47 15
Other Opioids 1,472 465 1,325 420 964 314 725 261 4,486 1,460
Total 2,282 699 2,040 659 1,535 515 1,152 422 7,009 2,295

Considerations

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimates that 121,000 Mississippians are in need of substance use disorder treatment services. Currently, our state does not have the capacity to provide treatment for all the patients in need.

Findings

Drug-Related Arrests:

  • The total number of drug-related arrests reported in 2019 was 17,278, which is 1.7% higher than in 2018.
  • There were 578.5 drug-related arrests per 100,000 persons reported to the MBN in 2019.
  • In 2019, an average of 1,439 drug-related arrests were reported each month in Mississippi.
  • During 2019, the greatest numbers of drug-related arrests were reported in DeSoto (1,958), Hinds (1,740), and Rankin (1,668) counties. These arrests accounted for 31.1% of all drug-related arrests in Mississippi.

Pharmacy Burglaries:

  • The total number of completed pharmacy burglaries reported in 2019 was 22, which was a 22.2% increase compared to 2018.
  • Five (22.7%) of the 22 pharmacy burglaries in the state in 2019 occurred in Hinds County.
  • More than one-quarter of all pharmacy burglaries occurred on a weekend (Saturday, 18.2% or Sunday, 9.1%) in 2019.
Suspected Overdose Deaths, EMS Naloxone Administrations, and Drug-Related Arrests Reported by County, MS, 2019
County Number of Suspected Overdose Deaths Number of EMS Naloxone Administrations* Number of Reported Drug-Related Arrests County Number of Suspected Overdose Deaths Number of EMS Naloxone Administrations* Number of Reported Drug-Related Arrests
Adams 0 5 247 Leflore 1 7 23
Alcorn 2 3 363 Lincoln 2 5 97
Amite 0 3 27 Lowndes 2 41 512
Attala 1 1 16 Madison 5 27 1,008
Benton 0 8 19 Marion 3 11 0
Bolivar 0 17 17 Marshall 0 33 220
Calhoun 0 0 49 Monroe 5 2 52
Carroll 0 0 3 Montgomery 2 4 0
Chickasaw 0 5 79 Neshoba 0 3 0
Choctaw 0 1 1 Newton 0 5 0
Claiborne 0 0 15 Noxubee 0 3 0
Clarke 0 0 11 Oktibbeha 0 13 83
Clay 0 9 115 Panola 2 2 227
Coahoma 2 13 0 Pearl River 9 23 539
Copiah 2 0 65 Perry 0 3 0
Covington 2 18 52 Pike 1 9 257
DeSoto 15 210 1,958 Pontotoc 4 13 41
Forrest 4 21 960 Prentiss 3 2 120
Franklin 0 0 1 Quitman 0 1 0
George 0 0 3 Rankin 17 71 1,668
Greene 0 0 8 Scott 2 10 61
Grenada 0 13 16 Sharkey 0 0 0
Hancock 0 29 228 Simpson 0 10 219
Harrison 32 206 1,271 Smith 2 6 37
Hinds 20 103 1,740 Stone 1 6 167
Holmes 2 9 0 Sunflower 1 6 1
Humphreys 0 6 0 Tallahatchie 0 4 0
Issaquena 0 0 0 Tate 5 17 332
Itawamba 1 4 0 Tippah 0 6 123
Jackson 13 11 531 Tishomingo 5 8 360
Jasper 0 4 150 Tunica 1 11 13
Jefferson 0 2 25 Union 4 1 204
Jefferson Davis 0 4 0 Walthall 2 2 58
Jones 0 25 438 Warren 0 17 145
Kemper 0 1 0 Washington 0 14 108
Lafayette 5 7 412 Wayne 1 0 76
Lamar 1 3 429 Webster 0 6 0
Lauderdale 4 55 448 Wilkinson 0 3 0
Lawrence 0 6 68 Winston 1 9 0
Leake 0 7 395 Yalobusha 1 9 0
Lee 9 57 359 Yazoo 0 8 8

Note: The zero values in this table may signify either that cases of overdose deaths, naloxone administrations, and drug-related crimes have not occurred or that such cases did occur but were not reported by the relevant authorities. Overdose death data for 2019 are not final due to pending lab results.

*Transitions in data reporting system may lead to future updates