- During Q2 2020, over 577,000 opioid prescriptions were dispensed in Mississippi.
- During Q2 2020, more than 30.4 million opioid dosage units (e.g., pills) were dispensed in Mississippi.
Opioid Prescriptions, Q2 2020
- On average, 6,351.2 opioid prescriptions were dispensed every day during this quarter.
- There was a 10.6% decrease in opioid prescriptions dispensed compared to Q2 2019.
- In the last 91 days (April-June), 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, 2019
- On average, approximately 334,265.5 dosage units were dispensed each day during this quarter.
- Compared to Q2 2019, the number of dosage units dispensed decreased by 7.7%, or approximately 2.5 million pills.
- In the last 91 days (April-June), there were enough opioid dosage units dispensed for each Mississippian to have a supply of 10 dosage units.
Data Source: Mississippi Board of Pharmacy
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.
- In the second quarter of 2020, 42 (87.5%) of the 48 suspected overdose deaths reported to the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics (MBN) were opioid-related. The numbers of opioid-related deaths increased by 5.0% from Q2 2019 to Q2 2020, and the total of overdose deaths decreased by 18.6%.
- Although the number of deaths involving heroin remained relatively unchanged from Q2 2019 (17 deaths) to Q2 2020 (16 deaths), there was a striking 160.0% increase in fentanyl-related deaths between Q2 2019 (10 deaths) and Q2 2020 (26 deaths).
Data Source: Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics
|Q2 2019||Q3 2019||Q4 2019||Q1 2020||Q2 2020|
|Prescription opioid related||17||7||6||6||6|
|Fentanyl and prescription related||5||8||3||1||10|
|Heroin and prescription related||1||1||2||1||1|
|Heroin and fentanyl related||4||2||0||7||6|
|Total opioid related overdose deaths||40||33||27||24||42|
|Other related overdose deaths||10||6||8||5||4|
|Prescription related overdose deaths||9||9||4||1||2|
|Total non-opioid related overdose deaths||19||15||12||6||6|
|Overall total suspected overdose deaths||59||48||39||30||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: Fifteen (15) of the 48 overall total suspected overdose deaths also involved methamphetamine, as did 11 of the 42 total opioid-related overdose deaths.
- Emergency Medical Services (EMS) data revealed that naloxone was administered 557 times during Q2 2020, which is a 54.7% increase compared to Q2 2019.
- On average, 185.7 naloxone administrations were reported in Mississippi each month during the second quarter of 2020.
- Of the individuals to whom naloxone was administered, 58.5% were male, and 63.9% were white. The median age was 42 years.
- Approximately 87% of the 550 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 and 2020.
- Suspected Overdose Deaths: The top 3 counties, Hinds (10), Harrison (9), and DeSoto (5), accounted for 50.0% of all suspected overdose deaths in Q2 2020.
- Naloxone Administrations: The top 3 counties, Harrison (77), Hinds (66), and Jackson (46), accounted for 33.9% of all EMS naloxone administrations in Q2 2020.
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 are based off of one limited data source while developing one universal data source for DMH.
- Table 2 indicates that, on average, there were 2.3 admissions per patient during Q2 2020, a decrease compared to Q2 2019.
- Opioids were listed as the primary substance for 167 (68.4%) of the 244 unique patients admitted in Q2 2020. This percentage is higher than Q2 2019, in which opioids were the primary substance for 372 (56.4%) of the 659 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 Q2 2019.
Number of Admissions and Unique Patients, Department of Mental Health, MS, Q2 2019 – Q2 2020*
|Q2 2019*||Q3 2019*||Q4 2019*||Q1 2020*||Q2 2020*|
CONSIDERATIONS: The number of admissions is consistently higher than the number of patients because patients can be admitted to multiple programs or relapse. NOTE: Due to a transition from the historical data reporting system to a newer statewide data reporting system, the reporting numbers may reflect admission and patient undercounting due to current data system limitations that will soon be corrected. When the statewide system is implemented in July 2020, the numbers should more accurately reflect the intakes and services provided.
- 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 63.1% of all opioid-related admissions in Q2 2020. Heroin represented 33.9% of admissions, and methadone represented 3.1%.
- Compared to Q2 2019, the numbers of unique patients admitted for “other opioids” and heroin were down by 65.0% and 60.2%, respectively, in Q2 2020. However, the proportion of unique patients treated for heroin use rose from 35.8% to 38.5%.
Number of Admissions and Unique Patients by Type of Opioid, MS, Q2 2019 – Q2 2020*
|Q2 2019*||Q3 2019*||Q4 2019*||Q1 2020*||Q2 2020*|
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. NOTE: Due to a transition from the historical data reporting system to a newer statewide data reporting system, the reporting numbers may reflect admission and patient undercounting due to current data system limitations that will soon be corrected. When the statewide system is implemented in July 2020, the numbers should more accurately reflect the intakes and services provided.
- The total number of drug-related arrests reported in Q2 2020 was 3,683, which is 9.1% higher than in Q2 2019.
- In the last 91 days (April-June), an average of 1,228 drug-related arrests were reported each month in Mississippi.
- During Q2 2020, the greatest numbers of drug-related arrests were reported in DeSoto (490), Hinds (367), and Madison (264) counties. They accounted for 30.4% of all drug-related arrests in Mississippi.
- During Q2 2020, there were 4 completed pharmacy burglaries and 1 attempted burglary.
- There were 3 fewer completed pharmacy burglaries in Q2 2020 compared to Q2 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|
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