GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Several state agencies are banding together to address the growing opioid problem in Mississippi. The agencies are working to tackle the problem community by community with informational meetings.
The Gautier Convention Center will play host to one of these town hall meetings Oct. 17 at 6:30 p.m.
According to the Mississippi Department of Mental Health, prescription drug abuse has increased by 400 percent over the past 10 years.
"In Mississippi, one in 10 people misuse prescription drugs," said Diana Mikula, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Mental Health. "Opioids have a tremendous impact in all of our communities. Addiction doesn't discriminate. It occurs in families from all walks of life."
Nearly 500 drug overdoses have been reported in Mississippi over the past three years. Of those reported, 394 were opioid related.
In 2016 alone, there were more than 3 million prescriptions written in Mississippi, according to MDMH. That equals out to about 70 pills for every person in the state.
"The partnerships we have are essential in helping us educate communities about the impact addiction is having on our state," Mikula said. "If you or someone else needs help, we urge you to reach out. There are people throughout the state who want to help you get on the road to recovery."
The meeting will be hosted by the state Department of Health, Department of Public Safety, Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, the Board of Pharmacy, and the state offices of the FBI.