- During Q3 2019, over 641,200 opioid prescriptions were dispensed in Mississippi.
- During Q3 2019, more than 32.5 million opioid dosage units (e.g., pills) were dispensed in Mississippi.
Opioid Prescriptions, Q3 2019
- On average, 6,969 opioid prescriptions were dispensed every day during this quarter.
- There was an 8.7% decrease in opioid prescriptions dispensed compared to Q3 2018.
- In the last 90 days (July-September), there were enough opioid prescriptions dispensed for approximately 1 in 5 Mississippians to have 1 prescription.
Data Source: Mississippi Board of Pharmacy
Opioid Dosage Units, Q3 2019
- On average, nearly 353,400 dosage units were dispensed each day during this quarter.
- Compared to Q3 2018, the number of dosage units dispensed decreased by 10.8%, or approximately 3.9 million pills.
- In the last 90 days (July-September), there were enough opioid dosage units dispensed for each Mississippian to have a supply of 10.9 dosage units.
Data Source: Mississippi Board of Pharmacy
This report identified a considerable decline in the number of opioid prescriptions from 2017. 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.
- In the third quarter of 2019, 33 (68.8%) of the 48 suspected overdose deaths reported to the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics (MBN) were opioid-related. The numbers of opioid-related deaths and total overdose deaths decreased by 46.8% and 52.0%, respectively, from Q3 2018 to Q3 2019.
- The number of deaths involving heroin declined from 21 in Q3 2018 to 12 in Q3 2019, representing a 42.9% decrease.
Data Source: Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics
|Q3, 2018||Q4, 2018||Q1, 2019||Q2, 2019||Q3, 2019|
|Fentanyl and prescription-related||4||8||5||5||8|
|Heroin and prescription-related||5||6||1||1||1|
|Heroin and fentanyl-related||7||2||3||4||2|
|Total opioid-related overdose deaths||62||53||30||40||33|
|Other-related overdose deaths||25||19||10||10||6|
|Prescription-related overdose deaths||13||9||11||9||9|
|Overall total suspected overdose deaths||100||81||51||59||48|
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: Fourteen (14) of the 48 overall total overdose deaths also involved methamphetamines, as did 8 of the 33 total opioid-related overdose deaths.
- Emergency Medical Services (EMS) data revealed that naloxone was administered 229 times during Q3 2019, which is a 20.2% decrease compared to Q3 2018.
- On average, 76.3 naloxone administrations were reported in Mississippi each month during the third quarter of 2019.
- Of the individuals to whom naloxone was administered, 54.1% were male, and 68.6% were white. The median age was 49.
- Approximately 85% of the 200 individuals who provided residence information were administered naloxone in their home county.
*Transition in data reporting system may lead to future updates.
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.
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.
- Suspected Overdose Deaths: The top 3 counties, Harrison (10), Hinds (9), and Jackson (6), accounted for 52.1% of all suspected overdose deaths in Q3 2019.
- Naloxone Administrations: The top 3 counties, DeSoto (53), Hinds (29), and Lauderdale (18), accounted for 43.7% of all EMS naloxone administrations in Q3 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.
- Table 2 and Figure 8 report opioid-related admissions to facilities certified by the Department of Mental Health (DMH). Data is based off of one limited data source while developing one universal data source for DMH.
- Table 2 indicates that, on average, there were 2.4 admissions per patient during Q3 2019, a decrease compared to Q3 2018.
- Opioids were listed as the primary substance for 256 (60.1%) of the 426 unique patients admitted in Q3 2019. This is lower than Q3 2018, in which opioids were the primary substance for 376 (61.8%) of the 608 unique patients.
- Figure 8 displays the total (primary, secondary, and tertiary) admissions and unique patients. There have been decreases both in total number of admissions and unique patients since Q3 2018.
Number of Admissions and Unique Patients, Department of Mental Health, MS, Q3 2018 – Q3 2019*
|Q3 2018||Q4 2018||Q1 2019||Q2 2019||Q3 2019|
NOTE: The number of admissions is consistently higher than the number of patients because patients can be admitted to multiple programs or relapse.
- Table 3 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 62.6% of all opioid-related admissions in Q3 2019. Heroin represented 36.9% of admissions, and methadone represented 0.5%.
- Compared to Q3 2018, the numbers of unique patients admitted for “other opioids” and heroin were down by 39.5% and 0.6%, respectively, in Q3 2019. However, the proportion of unique patients treated for heroin use rose from 27.1% to 38.5%.
Number of Admissions and Unique Patients by Type of Opioid, MS, Q3 2018 – Q3 2019
|Q3 2018||Q4 2018||Q1 2019||Q2 2019||Q3 2019|
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.
- The total number of drug-related arrests reported in Q3 2019 was 4,775, which is 8.4% more than in Q3 2018.
- In the last 90 days (July-September), an average of 1,591 drug-related arrests were reported each month in Mississippi.
- During Q3 2019, the greatest numbers of drug-related arrests were reported in DeSoto (562), Rankin (441), and Hinds (387) counties. They accounted for 29.1% of all drug-related arrests in Mississippi.
- During Q3 2019, there were 4 completed pharmacy burglaries and 3 attempted burglaries.
- There was 1 more completed pharmacy burglary in Q3 2019 compared to Q3 2018.
|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|
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.
*Transitions in data reporting system may lead to future updates