- During 2020, over 2.4 million opioid prescriptions were dispensed in Mississippi.
- During 2020, more than 124.1 million opioid dosage units (e.g., pills) were dispensed in Mississippi.
Opioid Prescriptions, 2020
- An increase in the number of opioid prescriptions (1.9%) was observed from the first quarter to the fourth quarter of 2020.
- Compared to 2019, there were 149,050 fewer opioid prescriptions dispensed during 2020, representing an 6.2% decrease.
- During 2020, 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, 2020
- An increase in the number of opioid dosage units (2.3%) was observed from the first quarter to the fourth quarter of 2020.
- Compared to 2019, the number of dosage units dispensed decreased by 4.8%, that is, by approximately 6.3 million pills.
- During 2020, there were enough opioid dosage units dispensed for each Mississippian to have a supply of 41.7 dosage units.
Data Source: Mississippi Board of Pharmacy
This report identified a considerable decline in the number of opioid prescriptions from 2019. 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.
- There were 10.9 opioid-related overdose deaths per 100,000 persons reported to the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics (MBN) in2020.
- In 2020, 324 (73.1%) of the 443 suspected overdose deaths reported to the MBN were opioid-related. The numbers of opioid-related deaths and total overdose deaths were 59.9% and 124.9% higher, respectively, in 2020 than in 2019.
Data Source: Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics
|Q1 2020*||Q2 2020*||Q3 2020*||Q4 2020*||2020 Total*|
|Prescription opioid-related deaths||15||14||17||6||52|
|Fentanyl and prescription-related deaths||13||23||31||12||79|
|Heroin and prescription-related deaths||3||2||1||1||7|
|Heroin and fentanyl-related deaths||12||18||6||9||45|
|Total opioid-related overdose deaths||69||114||88||53||324|
|Other related overdose deaths||25||22||27||9||83|
|Prescription-related overdose deaths||13||5||8||10||36|
|Total non-opioid related overdose deaths||38||27||35||19||119|
|Overall total suspected overdose deaths||107||141||123||72||443|
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 2020, 171 of the 443 overall total overdose deaths also involved methamphetamine, and 105 of the 324 total opioid related suspected overdose deaths involved methamphetamine.
- Emergency Medical Services (EMS) data revealed that naloxone was administered 2,065 times during 2020, which is 54.8%higherthan the number of administrations in 2019 (1,334).
- There were 69 EMS naloxone administrations per 100,000 persons in Mississippi in 2020.
- On average, 172.1 naloxone administrations were reported in Mississippi each month during 2020.
- Of the individuals who received naloxone and provided demographic information, 57.6% were male, and 65.0% were white. Over 30% of patients were aged 55 years or older. Eighty-four percent of the 2,065 individuals who provided geographic information were administered naloxone in their home county. These values are similar to 2019 data. Table 2 on p. 5 features demographic information of individuals who received naloxone from EMS in 2020.
*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 and 2020.
- Suspected Overdose Deaths: The top 3 counties, Jackson (54), Hinds (52), and Harrison (49), accounted for 35.0% of all suspected overdose deaths in 2020. The 3 counties with the highest rates of overdose deaths per 100,000 persons in 2020 were Pearl River (37.81), Jackson(37.60), and Yalobusha (33.04).
- Naloxone Administrations: The top 3 counties, Harrison (334), Hinds (281), and DeSoto (166), accounted for 37.8% of all EMS naloxone administrations in 2020. The 3 counties with the highest rates of naloxone administrations per 100,000 persons in 2020 were Tunica (176.5),Harrison (160.5), and Winston (139.2).
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 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 1.8 admissions per patient during 2020, a decrease compared to 2019 (3.1 adm/pt).
- Opioids were listed as the primary substance for 63.1% of the 1,772 unique patients admitted in 2020. This 2020 percentage is lower than its 2019 counterpart. In 2019, opioids were the primary substance for 58.5% of the 2,295 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 2019. This trend should be treated with some caution because it may be influenced by the provisional nature of the 2020 data.
Number of Admissions and Unique Patients, Department of Mental Health, MS, 2020*
|Q1 2020*||Q2 2020*||Q3 2020*||Q4 2020*||2020 Totals*|
NOTE: The number of admissions is consistently higher than the number of patients because patients can be admitted to multiple programs or relapse.
- 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 52.9% of all opioid-related admissions in 2020, a decrease from 63.6% in 2019. Heroin represented 37.2% of admissions in 2020 (compared to 35.3% in 2019), and methadone represented 9.9% (compared to 0.7% in 2019).
- In 2020, the proportion of unique patients admitted for “other opioids” was 51.6%, a decrease from 63.6% in 2019. The proportion of patients admitted for heroin was 37.8% in 2020 (compared to 35.7% in 2019) and 17.7% for methadone (1.7% in 2019).
Number of Admissions and Unique Patients by Type of Opioid, MS, 2020*
|Q1 2020*||Q2 2020*||Q3 2020*||Q4 2020*||2020 Totals*|
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 2020 was 16,523,which is 4.6% decrease than in 2019.
- There were 555.2 drug-related arrests per 100,000 persons reported to the MBN in 2020.
- In 2020, an average of 1,377 drug-related arrests were reported each month in Mississippi.
- During 2020, the greatest numbers of drug-related arrests were reported in DeSoto (2,056), Hinds (1,076), and Rankin (1,055) counties. These arrests accounted for 25.3% of all drug-related arrests in Mississippi.
- The total number of completed pharmacy burglaries reported in 2020 was 45, which was a 48.9% increase compared to 2019.
- Eight (17.8%) of the 45 pharmacy burglaries in the state in 2020 occurred in Lowndes County.
- More than 65% of all pharmacy burglaries occurred on a Weekday (Tuesday, 23.3%, Wednesday, 20.0% and Thursday, 23.3%) in 2020.
|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. Overdose death data for 2020 are not final due to pending lab results.
*Transitions in data reporting system may lead to future updates