Mississippi on track for record opioid deaths in 2017

Mississippi on track for record opioid deaths in 2017

JACKSON, MS (AP) - Mississippi officials are anticipating a record number of opioid deaths statewide in 2017.

Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics Director John Dowdy says the state has confirmed 195 deaths from opioid overdoses through the end of October. With an average of 19.5 deaths being reported each month, Dowdy suspects the total could top 234 fatal overdoses at the end of this year.

The Clarion-Ledger reports the state narcotics bureau confirmed 211 opioid deaths last year.

Dowdy said his agency has seen "seen substantial spikes" in overdoses reported by coroners this year. For example, Hinds County reported six fatal opioid overdoses in 2016. There have been 25 confirmed so far this year.

Dowdy said he fears the 2017 death toll could potentially surpass 300 once backlogged paperwork comes in confirming more cases.

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