Pearl River Co: Why no outrage over overdose deaths? - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Pearl River Co: Why no outrage over overdose deaths?

Posted: Updated:
PICAYUNE, MS (WLOX) -

Out of control. That is how Pearl River County officials describe the death rate from drug overdoses there, considering the small population size.

On Friday, a 37-year-old man was found dead behind a garbage dumpster in Picayune. The coroner said his death marked the 17th person in the county to die of an overdose since January. That man overdosed on heroine, but officials said most overdoses were due to prescription abuse.

They said people need to stop thinking it can't happen to their family. Law enforcers said not a day goes by that someone in Pearl River County isn't caught with illegal prescription drugs.

Picayune Deputy Chief Chad Dorn said officers find "people being in possession of prescription medication and it's not prescribed to them. So they're getting them somewhere. The person who is being prescribed, they're selling it and so we're making arrests on a daily basis."

Just since July, the Pearl River County Coroner said there have been nine drug overdose deaths. He said victims span all incomes and education levels.

"We've got families from very prominent families in our community to lower income families," said Coroner Derek Turnage. "We've got families from across the spectrum that are experiencing their family members passing away from the use of narcotics and other illicit drugs."

Law enforcement officials said they need support from doctors. Donnie Saucier is the chief investigator for the Pearl River County Sheriff's Department.

"Ninety nine percent of practitioners are good honest ethical physicians. It's that one percent that is not that are basically overwriting these prescriptions," said Saucier. "I'm not a medical practitioner, but I'm a career law enforcement officer. I see the effects of the overwriting and the combination of the drugs that are being taken and they're deadly."

"The 17 overdose deaths in our county in the past 10 months, it's out of control," said Saucier. "If we had 17 people die in Pearl River County in a 10 month period from, let's say, Malaria, it would be an international outrage. We'd have representatives from Washington, DC and beyond in this county trying to figure out how to stop that problem. The question is why don't we have the outrage over these overdose deaths?"

As Pearl River County prepares for the annual March Against Drugs, officials say everyone needs to take a stand.

"This is not a law enforcement problem. Not a hospital problem. Not a church problem," Dorn said. "It's a community problem. It's going to take the community getting together as a whole and standing up."

Turnage said, "We need to start at a community level. We need to start within our own families to promote awareness and promote education and look at the people, the people that are within our families that need help. We need to get involved."

Officials said roughly 58,000 people live in Pearl River County. The March Against Drugs is this Saturday at 9:30 am in Picayune. The walk will start at the Applebee's parking lot on Memorial Drive and continue to the park.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Huge alligator snapping turtle set free

    Huge alligator snapping turtle set free

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 12:27 PM EDT2014-04-15 16:27:58 GMT
    There is good news for an alligator snapping turtle that was rescued from a drainage ditch a week ago. "Snappy," as the rescuers referred to the reptile, has been set free.More >>
    There is good news for an alligator snapping turtle that was rescued from a drainage ditch a week ago. "Snappy," as the rescuers referred to the reptile, has been set free.More >>
  • Rural hospital lays off employees, cuts hours to stay afloat

    Rural hospital lays off employees, cuts hours to stay afloat

    Thursday, April 17 2014 6:53 AM EDT2014-04-17 10:53:07 GMT
    Like many rural hospitals in our state, Pearl River County Hospital and Nursing Home is struggling.More >>
    Layoffs. Reduced hours. These are some of the sacrifices a South Mississippi hospital is having to make to keep the doors open. Like many rural hospitals in our state, Pearl River County Hospital and Nursing Home is struggling.More >>
  • Police prepare for another spring break weekend

    Police prepare for another spring break weekend

    Thursday, April 17 2014 12:39 AM EDT2014-04-17 04:39:37 GMT
    Barricades and yellow caution tape remain up throughout Gulfport and Biloxi in preparation for another Spring Break weekend. This weekend is a little different though because no one knows how many springMore >>
    The coast is preparing for another weekend of Spring Break festivities. At this point though no one knows exactly what to expect in terms of crowd size. There are several events listed on a Facebook page promoting spring break for April 18th through the 20th including a performance by rapper Lil Boosie.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

208 DeBuys Road
Biloxi, MS 39531
(228) 896-1313

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WLOX. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.