“In 2017, we made it to 4th, the 4th highest prescribing rate in the nation,” said a speaker at the summit.
The church was packed with people ready to tackle the opioid epidemic.
“It is still the number one cause of overdose death in Mississippi, opioids are and prescription pain pills continue to be the number one overdose death in Mississippi. Heroin and fentanyl are behind it a little ways,” said the Director of Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.
The summit comes days after a deadly batch of heroin may have killed as many as six people in Hinds County. Some officials said it may have included fentanyl.
“We need people to take action because silence is deafening. We have to have more robust conversations about addiction and addiction issues and ultimately people getting out and doing something about it instead of just talking about it is what we need,“ said Dowdy.
Organizers say that is why this conference so is important. It offers educational sessions about opioids and how a disorder can negatively impact a community. Experts will also provide information on resources available to combat the crisis.
The conference also provides a platform for families dealing with addictions.
“They have a place to come to have a conversation on how to deal with additions and how to go about getting people treatment if that is what they feel is necessary,“ Dowdy said.
Ruth Ann Rigby agrees. She is the Chairman for the annual summit.
“Over the past two years we have helped 32 families as a direct result of this summit. They have come to the summit for assistance and we have placed them in treatment on site."
This year the conference is also focusing on helping first responders who are on the front lines of the opioid battle.
“We have brought in national presenters to do training with first responders. We are talking about trauma, PTSD, addiction, wellness, how to stay healthy,” said Rigby.
The three-day conference ends Friday.