Many of us may not even be aware that the Mississippi Legislature recognized September as “Pain Awareness Month in Mississippi”. This resolution is to encourage all citizens of Mississippi to become more informed and aware of the impacts of chronic pain and to support organizations in their search for adequate pain care for Mississippians.
Chronic pain is a major public health problem and hidden driver of rising health care cost. There is a rising problem with many people abusing “pain killers”, which can lead to an overdosing. Each year, Mississippi averages about 150 deaths from people from drug overdoses. Patients are
given abuse-deterrent opioids, which enable them to receive their medication while preventing the medicine from being manipulated and abused, but once tampered with the release of the drug is accelerated.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prescription opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone are involved in more overdose deaths than any other drug – including another major opiate: heroin. CDC research finds that people who have abused opiate pain killers are 40 times likely to abuse heroin. In recent years, the number of heroin-related deaths has spiked in Mississippi and many of the deaths can be traced to this narcotic being trafficked into the Mississippi Delta from Chicago. There were several arrests last year from the trafficking of heroin.
Law enforcement personnel, along with local and national officials, and advocacy groups agree that abuse-deterrent formulations have the potential to create a strong barrier to prevent abuse. To continue to combat drug/prescription abuse, there are many projects underway to deter and prevent medication from falling into the wrong hands. The Electronic Prescription Monitoring Program was put in place to keep a track of prescription being filled by patients and eliminate them from seeing multiple doctors obtaining prescriptions for illegal use. Also, there is the “National Take Back Initiative” which is conducted the DEA, along with local law enforcement agencies, to turn in prescriptions that are no longer being used.
While the month of September has past, the fight will continue in decreasing the epidemic of prescription drug abuse.
K.C. Hamp, Sr. ~ Sheriff