A new federal grant is coming to South Mississippi, bringing Drug Dependency Rehab programs and treatment for South Mississippians who need help for their opioid addiction, but are unable to afford it.
Stand Up Mississippi received a $3.58 million grant that will give thousands across the state to get access to a 30-day Drug Dependency Rehab program; covering treatment stay and/or outpatient treatment, which also includes medications for dealing with addiction.
Eighty percent of the new funds will be spend on the expansion of treatment services, which means that people who couldn’t afford treatment can now qualify for free treatment, covering inpatient and outpatient care, whether individual, family and group therapy, on top of any needed medications, like methadone, which block cravings for addictive substances like opioids and alcohol.
South Mississippi alone can have up to 1,800 locals able to stay at two different treatment facilities for their Drug Dependency Rehab, with a total of 60 beds for 30-day treatment stays for patients.
Mississippi officials and community members stated back in July 24, during a town hall meeting at Biloxi regarding the state’s opioid crisis that there is help for those that want it, with further details to be divulged at a second town hall meeting on the first week of August at the Stone County Fairgrounds.
Cross Roads Recovery Center in Gulfport has 42 in-patient beds for 30-day stays for people living in the counties of Hancock, Harrison, Stone and Pearl River. Meanwhile, the Stevens Center in Pascagoula has 18 beds for 30-day stays, for those living in George and Jackson counties.
According to Public Safety Commissioner Marshall Fisher, opioid deaths are escalating in an alarming rate across the state, and that this is definitely not a problem the state can arrest its way out of. Fisher says that this problem can only be addressed with the help of Mississippi communities. He also adds that the fact that addiction is a disease is something many in law enforcement are only recently coming to terms with.
Fisher worked as a former narcotics agent, having gone undercover selling opioids and other drugs as part of his cover. He admits shame to holding addicts in such low regards, saying that he now sees them as people who need help, knowing that anyone, even people with proper prescriptions from doctors, can get addicted.
The opioid crisis in Mississippi first struck back in 2013, when the state saw 99 overdose deaths over the year, which was followed by 114 in 2014, before spiking to 256 by 2017. According to data from the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, 74% of overdose deaths in 2017 involved opioids.