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Mississippi DEA Alert Fentanyl Report – An in-depth look at the Fentanyl epidemic in Mississippi

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is alerting the public of a sharp nationwide increase in the lethality of fentanyl-laced fake prescription pills. In 2023, DEA seized more than 78.4 million fentanyl-laced fake pills and nearly 12,000 pounds of fentanyl powder. The 2023 seizures are equivalent to more than 388.8 million lethal doses of fentanyl. 

“More than half of the fentanyl-laced fake prescription pills being trafficked in communities across the country now contain a potentially deadly dose of fentanyl. This marks a dramatic increase – from four out of ten to six out of ten – in the number of pills that can kill,” says DEA  Administrator Anne Milgram.

2mg of Fentanyl on the end of a pencil lead

2mg, the amount of Fentanyl on the tip of this pencil, can be enough to kill an average American – Source DEA

 

Fentanyl threat in Mississippi reveals alarming data

The Mississippi State Department of Health reports that overdose deaths rose 34%, increasing from 586 in 2020 to 788 in 2021. During the same period, the number of deaths involving synthetic opioids (e.g., fentanyl) spiked by 51%. Alarmingly, one out of every three overdose deaths in 2021 was among people younger than 35 years of age. Although the majority overdose fatalities were among Caucasians, the proportion of overdose deaths among African Americans in 2021 increased, continuing a trend first observed in 2019. The collision of two parallel epidemics, the COVID-19 crisis and increased usage of fentanyl and fentanyl-contaminated drugs, is a major contributing factor in the steep rise in overdoses during the 2020-2021 period. The Mississippi report also found: 

  • Overdose deaths among those under 35 years old spiked 158% between 2019 and 2021.
  • Fatal overdose among African Americans has been on the rise, with 21% of all overdose deaths occurring in this racial group in 2021 – a big jump from 9% in 2011.
  • In 2021, synthetic opioids were responsible for 63% of all drug overdose deaths among African Americans.
  • A significant increase in male overdose deaths has been observed since 2013, with nearly two-thirds of such deaths recorded among men in 2020 and 2021.
  • Overdose deaths have been more prevalent among unmarried individuals, with this category experiencing a significant increase over the past eleven years.
  • In 2021, only 6.9% of all opioid overdose victims had a bachelor’s degree or higher, indicating a correlation between lower levels of education and susceptibility to substance abuse.
  • Metropolitan areas have had the highest rates of overdose deaths, which have increased from 12.7 in 2020 to 15.8 per 100,000 population in 2021.

 

Fentanyl Emergency Protocol, Harm Reduction and Treatment Options in Mississippi

What to Do in Case of a Fentanyl Overdose

In the case of a Fentanyl overdose the Mississippi State Department of Health provides the following guidance: 

  • Call 911 as soon as possible. A quick response is essential, especially in rural areas where emergency response time may be longer. Remain calm and try to answer the operator’s questions to the best of your ability. Never be afraid to call, even if you are overdosing or doing drugs.
  • Mississippi has a Good Samaritan law to protect people who call in case of an overdose for themselves or another person. This law does not protect people who are dealing drugs or who have a large amount of drugs in their possession.

 

What Not to Do in Case of a Fentanyl Overdose

The Mississippi State Department of Health says if you are trying to help someone who may have overdosed, or is unconscious from taking drugs:

  • DO NOT try to wake someone from an overdose by slapping or hitting them. It will only cause further injury. If you cannot wake the person by shouting, try rubbing your knuckles on the center of their chest or light pinching them.
  • DO NOT force any liquids in the person.
  • DO NOT put them in the cold bath or shower. This increases the risk of falling, drowning, or going into shock.
  • DO NOT try to make the person vomit drugs that may have been swallowed. Chocking or inhaling vomit into the lungs can cause a fatal injury.
  • DO NOT try to help a semi-conscious person get up and walk around.
  • DO NOT leave the person alone to sleep it off.
  • DO NOT lie to emergency personnel. Give them complete and accurate information so they can give the best help right away.

 

How to get Naloxone (Narcan) in Mississippi and how to use it

According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, Naloxone, also known as Narcan and Kloxxado, is the only antidote to opioid poisoning or an opioid overdose. Naloxone can reverse an overdose from opioids, including heroin, fentanyl and prescription opioid medications..

Andrew McKenna , Deputy Director of NCADD Westchester explains “More than one dose of Narcan may be required when stronger opioids like fentanyl are involved. It is not unusual for people during an overdose to need 5 or more doses of Narcan to restore their breathing and bring them back to consciousness. The amount of Narcan required will vary from person to person. In many cases one dose will be enough, but don’t count on it. Also, it is important to note that the reversal only lasts between 30 and 90 minutes.” Learn more on how to obtain and administer naloxone by going to the Fentanyl Overdose Help Guide.

 

A Ticking Clock: Getting Help in Mississippi Before Overdose Happens

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 14 Americans reports experiencing a substance use disorder. Some people may use drugs to cope with stress, trauma, or to help with mental health issues. Some may develop an addiction after misusing opioids that have been prescribed by a licensed physician.  If someone you care about is in need of addiction treatment for alcohol or drug addiction, they need detox and withdrawal management and comprehensive behavioral rehab. These modalities help address the root causes and triggers of your addiction, while getting help for your acute physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. Be sure to review the list of Fentanyl drug detox facilities in Mississippi for treatment options.

 

About the Author

Jason Adams is a freelance writer and a lifelong learner with a deep curiosity and interest to learn about the latest insights, data and trends. He uses that curiosity along with his experience to write about subjects that will inform, educate and empower our society at large.

 

Sources:

https://www.dea.gov/onepill

https://msdh.ms.gov/page/resources/19637.pdf

https://msdh.ms.gov/page/44,25058,382.html

https://msdh.ms.gov/page/44,0,382.html#epidemic

https://nida.nih.gov/research-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates

https://msdh.ms.gov/page/44,0,382.html

https://www.cdc.gov/stopoverdose/stigma/

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