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2,780,222
Total Opioid Prescriptions, 2018
342
Total Overdose Deaths, 2018
1,740
Total Number of Naloxone Administrations, 2018

Findings

  • During the first quarter of 2019, over 600,000 opioid prescriptions and 33,055,691 dosage units (e.g., pills) were dispensed in Mississippi. On average, more than 360,000 dosage units were dispensed every day during this quarter.
  • Compared to the first quarter of 2018, there were 54,268 fewer opioid prescriptions dispensed during the first quarter of 2019. This was a 7.8% decrease. During the same period, the number of dosage units dispensed decreased by 11.8 % or 4,431,794 pills.

Opioid Prescriptions, Q1 2019

  • Total number: 644,469
  • Average number per month: 214,823
  • Average number per day: 7,160
  • The rate was 21.6 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons – enough for approximately 1 in 5 people in Mississippi to have 1 opioid prescription.

Data Source: Mississippi Board of Pharmacy

Opioid Dosage Units, Q1 2019

  • Total number: 33,055,061
  • Average number per month: 11,018,564
  • Average number per day: 367,285
  • The rate was 1,106.8 opioid dosage units per 100 persons — enough for each person in Mississippi to have a supply of 11 opioid dosage units

Data Source: Mississippi Board of Pharmacy

Considerations

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 late October of 2018. Information about the new regulations can be found at The Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure’s website.

Findings

  • In the first quarter of 2019, 30 (58.8%) of the 51 suspected overdose deaths reported to the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics (MBN) were opioid-related. The numbers of opioid-related deaths and total overdose deaths both decreased by approximately 45% from Q1 2018 to Q1 2019.

Data Source: Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics

Number of Suspected Overdose Deaths reported to Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics by Type of Involved Substance, MS, 2018 – Q1 2019
Q1, 2018 Q2, 2018 Q3, 2018 Q4, 2018 Q1, 2019
Prescription opioid-related 33 23 29 26 11
Fentanyl-related 3 2 8 5 3
Fentanyl and prescription-related 7 7 4 8 5
Heroin related 6 3 9 6 7
Heroin and prescription-related 0 3 5 6 1
Heroin and fentanyl-related 5 3 7 2 3
Total opioid-related overdose deaths 54 41 62 53 30
Other-related overdose deaths 26 21 25 19 10
Prescription-related overdose deaths 13 6 13 9 11
Overall total suspected overdose deaths 93 68 100 81 51

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: Eighteen (18) of the 51 overall total overdose deaths also involved methamphetamines, as did 7 of the 30 total opioid-related overdose deaths.

Findings

  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS) data revealed that naloxone was administered 269 times during Q1 2019, which is a 48.3% decrease compared to Q1 2018.
  • On average, 90 naloxone administrations were reported in Mississippi each month during the first quarter of 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. Since May 2017, 11,842 doses of naloxone have been distributed through STR. In May 2018, State Health Officer 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 (6), Desoto (5), and Hinds (5), accounted for 31.4% of all suspected overdose deaths in Q1 2019.
  • The top 3 counties, DeSoto (34), Rankin (24), and Lauderdale (14), accounted for 26.8% of all EMS naloxone administrations in Q1 2019.
Number of Suspected Overdose Deaths by County, MS, Q1 2019
Number of Naloxone Administrations by County, MS, Q1 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 2 and Figure 7 report opioid-related admissions to facilities certified by the Department of Mental Health (DMH).
  • Table 2 indicates that, on average, there were 2.59 admissions per patient during Q1 2019, a 21% decrease compared to Q1 2018.
  • Opioids were listed as the primary substance for 367 (59%) of the 627 unique patients admitted in Q1 2019. This is lower than Q1 2018, in which opioids were the primary substance for 417 (60%) of the 691 patients.
  • Figure 7 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 Q1 2018.

Number of Admissions and Unique Patients, Department of Mental Health, MS, 2018 – Q1 2019

Q1 2018 Q2 2018 Q3 2018 Q4 2018 Q1 2019
Admissions Patients Admissions Patients Admissions Patients Admissions Patients Admissions Patients
Primary 1,404 417 1,075 428 1,019 376 817 360 935 367
Secondary 572 182 513 172 384 164 428 151 464 174
Tertiary 280 92 196 72 251 68 161 66 225 86
Total 2,256 691 1,784 672 1,654 608 1,406 577 1,624 627

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 3 and Figure 8 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 66.1% of all opioid-related admissions in Q1 2019. Heroin represented 33.0% of admissions, and methadone represented 0.9%.
  • Compared to Q1 2018, the number of unique patients admitted for “other opioids” was down by 17.4% in Q1 2019, but the
    number admitted for heroin increased by 11.8%.

Number of Admissions and Unique Patients by Type of Opioid, MS, 2018 – Q1 2019

Q1 2018 Q2 2018 Q3 2018 Q4 2018 Q1 2019
Admissions Patients Admissions Patients Admissions Patients Admissions Patients Admissions Patients
Heroin 591 187 393 199 576 165 400 179 536 209
Methadone 28 9 25 13 13 13 26 8 15 9
Other Opioids 1,637 495 1,366 460 1,065 430 980 390 1,073 409
Total 2,256 691 1,784 672 1,654 608 1,406 577 1,624 627

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 Q1 2019 was 4,838, which is 8.6% more than in Q1 2018.
  • On average, 1,612 drug-related arrests were reported in Mississippi each month during Q1 2019.
  • During Q1 2019, the greatest numbers of drug-related arrests were reported in DeSoto (556), Hinds (554), and Rankin (486) counties.

Pharmacy Burglaries:

  • During Q1 2019, there was 1 completed pharmacy burglary and 2 attempted burglaries.
  • There were 8 fewer completed pharmacy burglaries in Q1 2019 compared to Q1 2018, representing an 88.9% decrease.
Suspected Overdose Deaths, EMS Naloxone Administrations, and Drug-Related Arrests Reported by County, MS, Q1 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 0 83 Leflore 1 0 5
Alcorn 0 1 78 Lincoln 0 0 31
Amite 0 0 5 Lowndes 0 9 190
Attala 0 0 5 Madison 1 9 266
Benton 0 3 3 Marion 0 7 0
Bolivar 0 8 3 Marshall 0 6 42
Calhoun 0 0 15 Monroe 0 0 7
Carroll 0 0 0 Montgomery 0 0 0
Chickasaw 0 4 31 Neshoba 0 0 0
Choctaw 0 1 0 Newton 0 1 0
Claiborne 0 0 15 Noxubee 0 1 0
Clarke 0 0 4 Oktibbeha 0 3 44
Clay 0 4 24 Panola 0 1 68
Coahoma 0 4 0 Pearl River 0 9 197
Copiah 1 0 132 Perry 0 1 0
Covington 2 11 6 Pike 1 6 66
DeSoto 5 34 556 Pontotoc 1 1 0
Forrest 1 12 289 Prentiss 2 0 5
Franklin 0 0 1 Quitman 0 0 0
George 0 0 0 Rankin 4 24 486
Greene 0 0 4 Scott 1 4 0
Grenada 0 0 0 Sharkey 0 0 0
Hancock 0 0 72 Simpson 0 0 28
Harrison 6 0 266 Smith 0 0 13
Hinds 5 0 554 Stone 0 0 46
Holmes 0 0 0 Sunflower 0 0 0
Humphreys 0 0 0 Tallahatchie 0 2 0
Issaquena 0 0 0 Tate 1 7 64
Itawamba 0 0 0 Tippah 0 3 1
Jackson 4 0 145 Tishomingo 4 2 90
Jasper 0 1 51 Tunica 0 5 10
Jefferson 0 2 13 Union 3 1 40
Jefferson Davis 0 3 0 Walthall 2 0 16
Jones 0 9 114 Warren 0 5 55
Kemper 0 0 0 Washington 0 6 22
Lafayette 0 2 125 Wayne 0 0 52
Lamar 1 1 120 Webster 0 1 0
Lauderdale 1 14 131 Wilkinson 0 0 0
Lawrence 0 2 14 Winston 0 5 0
Leake 0 3 118 Yalobusha 0 1 0
Lee 4 13 117 Yazoo 0 3 0

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