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2,318,420
Total Opioid Prescriptions, 2021
491
Total Overdose Deaths, 2021
2,540
Total Number of Naloxone Administrations, 2021

Opioid Prescriptions, 2021

  • In 2021, over 2,318,420 opioid prescriptions were dispensed in Mississippi.
  • On average, 6,351 opioid prescriptions were dispensed every day this year.
  • A 3.6% decrease in the number of opioid prescriptions was observed from 2020 to 2021.
  • In 2021, there were enough opioid prescriptions dispensed for 78% of Mississippians to have a prescription.

Data Source: Mississippi Board of Pharmacy

Dosage Units, 2021

  • During 2021, over 119 million opioid dosage units (e.g., pills) were dispensed in Mississippi.
  • On average, approximately 327,900 dosage units were dispensed each day during 2021.
  • Compared to 2020, the number of dosage units dispensed decreased by 3.5% or approximately 4.3 million pills in 2021.
  • In 2021, there were enough opioid dosage units dispensed for each Mississippian to have a supply of 40.6 dosage units.

Data Source: Mississippi Board of Pharmacy

Considerations

This report identified a considerable decline in the number of opioid prescriptions from 2019. This downward trend could be driven by regulation revisions made between 2018 and 2019 by the MS Board of Medical Licensure, MS Board of Nursing, and the MS Board of Dental Examiners as well as educational outreach and prevention efforts.

Findings

  • In 2021, 352 (71.7%) of the 491 suspected overdose deaths reported to the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics (MBN) were opioid-related. The number of opioid-related deaths increased by 9% from 2020 to 2021, and the total number of overdose deaths increased by 10.8%.
  • The number of deaths involving heroin decreased from 2020 (80 deaths) to 2021 (43 deaths) by 46.3%. The number of deaths involving fentanyl increased from 2020 (237 deaths) to 2021 (280 deaths) by 18.14%.
  • There were 11.8 opioid-related overdose deaths per 100,000 persons reported to the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics (MBN) in 2021.
  • 187 (38%) of the 491 suspected overdose deaths involved methamphetamine.

Data Source: Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics

Number of Suspected Overdose Deaths reported to MBN by Type of Involved Substance, MS, 2021*
Q1 2021* Q2 2021* Q3 2021* Q4 2021* 2021 Final Total*
Prescription opioid-related deaths 10 8 7 9 50
Fentanyl-related deaths 24 20 21 16 145
Fentanyl and prescription-related deaths 10 16 13 17 114
Heroin-related deaths 8 8 8 5 17
Heroin and prescription-related deaths 2 1 2 1 5
Heroin and Fentanyl-related deaths 9 6 9 2 21
Total opioid-related overdose deaths 63 59 60 50 352
Other-related overdose deaths 13 14 11 13 96
Prescription-related overdose deaths 5 6 8 5 33
Total non-opioid related overdose deaths 18 20 19 18 10
Overall total suspected overdose deaths 81 79 79 68 491

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.

Data Source: Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics

Findings

  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS) data revealed that naloxone was administered 2,540 times during 2021, which is 23.0% greater than the number of administrations in 2020 (2,065).
  • There were 85.3 EMS naloxone administrations per 100,000 persons in Mississippi in 2021.*
  • On average, 211.7 naloxone administrations were reported in Mississippi each month during 2021.
  • Of the individuals to whom naloxone was administered, 60.0% were male, and 66.7% were non-Hispanic white. The median age was 45 years.
  • Approximately 84% of the 2,483 individuals who provided residence information were administered naloxone in their home county.

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 Opioid Response (SOR) 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 of 2019 2020, and 2021.*2019 Mississippi Census data utilized for rates.

Data Source: Mississippi State Department of Health

Findings

  • Suspected Overdose Deaths: The top 3 counties, namely, Harrison (92), Desoto (47), and Hinds (42) accounted for 36.9% of all suspected overdose deaths in 2021.
  • Naloxone Administrations: The top 3 counties, namely, Harrison (451), Hinds (255), and DeSoto (189), accounted for 35.2% of all EMS naloxone administrations in 2021. The 3 counties with the highest rates of naloxone administrations per 100,000 persons in 2021 were Tunica (301.1), Harrison (216.7), and Benton (205.8).
Number of Suspected Overdose Deaths by County, MS, 2021
Number of EMS Naloxone Administrations by County, MS, 2021

Data Sources: Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics (left), Mississippi State Department of Health (right)

Findings

  • Table 2 and Figure 8 report opioid-related admissions to facilities certified by the Department of Mental Health (DMH). The data was collected from clients served by the State Opioid Response (SOR) grant, which provides funding for substance use treatment services at reduced or no cost to underinsured or uninsured people.
  • A total of 1,899 Mississippians were admitted in 2021 to community mental health centers for all substance use disorders and 1062 (see Table 2) for opioid use disorders (includes primary, secondary, and tertiary).
    Opioids were listed as the primary diagnosis for 727 (38.2%) of the 1,899 unique patients admitted in 2021.
  • In Q3, the most patients (221) were admitted for opioid use disorder as a primary diagnosis; however, most people admitted in Q2 presented with all substance use disorders in Q2 (572).
  • Figure 8 displays the total number of unique patients for whom opioids were a primary, secondary, or tertiary diagnosis. There was an increase in unique patients diagnosed with an opioid use disorder from Q1 to Q3 2021 but a decrease in Q4.
  • Due to the limited population, the persons featured in this data source are not a representative sample of the state’s substance use or opioid use prevalence. This population, however, does provide a stringent test of program effectiveness.

Unique Patients at Mental Health Facilities with Opioids as Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary Diagnosis, MS, 2021

Q1 2021 Q2 2021 Q3 2021 Q4 2021 Total 2021
Primary 163 191 221 152 727
Secondary 68 77 72 53 270
Tertiary 22 14 18 11 65
Total 253 282 311 216 1062

CONSIDERATIONS: The actual number of unique patients is a best estimate because patients can be admitted to multiple drug treatment programs, relapse, be re-admitted for a different treatment, or re-admitted in a different region.

NOTE: In July 2020, a transition occurred from the historical reporting system to a SAMHSA-recommended statewide reporting system that produces more accurate data. Therefore, some reported numbers may reflect admission and patient miscounting.

Data Source: Mississippi State Department of Health

Findings

  • Table 3 and Figure 9 report opioid-related admissions to facilities certified by the Department of Mental Health (DMH). The data was collected from clients served by the State Opioid Response (SOR) grant, which provides funding for substance use treatment services at reduced or no cost to underinsured or uninsured people.
  • Table 3 and Figure 9 categorize the type of opioid involved in opioid-related admissions (primary, secondary, and tertiary diagnoses) to facilities certified by DMH.
  • The “other opioids” category includes prescription opioids and constituted 67.8% of all opioid-related admissions in 2021. Heroin represented 32.2% of admissions.
  • Q3 was the peak of opioid admissions (309) while the lowest number of admissions was in Q4 (216).
  • Due to the limited population, the persons featured in this data source are not a representative sample of the state’s substance use or opioid use prevalence. This population, however, does provide a stringent test of program effectiveness.

Number of Unique Opioid Patients by Type of Opioid, MS, 2021

Q1 2021 Q2 2021 Q3 2021 Q4 2021 Total 2021
Heroin 89 95 87 69 340
Other Opioids 162 186 222 147 717

CONSIDERATIONS: The actual number of unique patients is a best estimate because patients can be admitted to multiple drug treatment programs, relapse, be re-admitted for a different treatment, or re-admitted in a different region.

NOTE: In July 2020, a transition occurred from the historical reporting system to a SAMHSA-recommended statewide reporting system that produces more accurate data. Therefore, some reported numbers may reflect admission and patient miscounting.

Data Source: Mississippi State Department of Health

Findings

Drug-Related Arrests:

  • The total number of drug-related arrests reported in 2021 was 18,688, which increased 13.1% from 2020 (16,523).
  • In 2021, an average of 1,557 drug-related arrests were reported each month in Mississippi.
  • There were 633 drug-related arrests per 100,000 persons reported to MBN in 2021.
  • In 2021, the greatest numbers of drug-related arrests were reported in DeSoto (2209), Hinds (1527), and Harrison (1512) counties. They accounted for 30.6% of all drug-related arrests in Mississippi.

Pharmacy Burglaries:

  • In 2021, there were 18 completed pharmacy burglaries which was a decrease from 2020.
  • There was a 43% decrease in completed pharmacy burglaries from 2020 (31) to 2021 (18).
Suspected Overdose Deaths, EMS Naloxone Administrations, and Drug-Related Arrests Reported by County, MS, 2021
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 2 14 134 Leflore 2 31 55
Alcorn 5 37 203 Lincoln 4 28 192
Amite * 7 19 Lowndes 6 55 245
Attala 1 11 79 Madison 14 79 972
Benton 1 17 22 Marion 2 6 248
Bolivar 2 28 63 Marshall * 32 202
Calhoun * 6 97 Monroe 5 9 54
Carroll * 9 1 Montgomery * 9 *
Chickasaw * 11 62 Neshoba 1 2 2
Choctaw * 1 * Newton 2 6 *
Claiborne * 1 10 Noxubee * 8 3
Clarke 4 9 85 Oktibbeha 2 16 101
Clay 4 12 59 Panola 2 29 582
Coahoma 3 18 30 Pearl River 32 26 582
Copiah 3 2 45 Perry 1 * 30
Covington 1 17 18 Pike 7 11 315
DeSoto 47 189 2209 Pontotoc 8 20 201
Forrest 8 10 820 Prentiss 7 8 45
Franklin * 3 15 Quitman 1 3 *
George 2 2 47 Rankin 38 131 1512
Greene * * 16 Scott * 21 10
Grenada 2 23 5 Sharkey * * *
Hancock 4 66 746 Simpson * 1 200
Harrison 92 451 1393 Smith 1 10 *
Hinds 42 255 1527 Stone 1 18 167
Holmes 1 9 * Sunflower * 14 *
Humphreys * 8 * Tallahatchie * 6 *
Issaquena * * * Tate 8 30 345
Itawamba * 16 9 Tippah 2 11 15
Jackson 28 102 674 Tishomingo 4 19 173
Jasper 1 12 151 Tunica 5 29 27
Jefferson * * 4 Union 6 14 381
Jefferson Davis 5 5 1 Walthall 2 * 12
Jones * 40 479 Warren 5 34 299
Kemper * 6 9 Washington * 22 86
Lafayette 11 23 247 Wayne 5 34 43
Lamar 13 40 273 Webster 1 4 8
Lauderdale 2 120 494 Wilkinson * 11 12
Lawrence 1 * 181 Winston 2 25 *
Leake 1 23 399 Yalobusha * 11 29
Lee 18 85 892 Yazoo 11 23 22

Note: The asterisk * 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.