The Opioid and Heroin Crisis in Southaven
Heroin has inflicted terrible costs on Southaven. In recent years, DeSoto County has suffered more deaths from heroin and other opioids than any other county in Mississippi, a state where the opioid epidemic has already claimed many lives. Mississippi suffers an average opioid death rate of about 12 fatal overdoses per 100,000 people every year. In 2017, opioids caused 211 deaths in Mississippi. That same year, there were between 8 and 38 fatal overdoses in DeSoto County. The significant opioid problems in Southaven are likely the result of the city’s proximity to Memphis, Tennessee, the county seat of Shelby County, where opioid-related deaths have surged in the past ten years.
It’s an overwhelming and a terrifying trend. We’re seeing people that are having to be resuscitated and some having to lose their life over the addiction to the opiates. Our Southaven EMS team responds to these life-threatening calls now almost daily.
The opioid epidemic is Southaven is primarily a result of prescription opioids. In 2017, doctors in Mississippi wrote 92.9 opioid prescriptions per every 100 people. Many people become addicted to opioids when they misuse prescription painkillers or share them with their family and friends.
About 5% of people who misuse prescription opioids will try heroin, which is illegal and highly dangerous. About 20% of the opioid-related deaths in Southaven and Mississippi in 2017 involved heroin. Another 47% involved natural opioids, especially hydrocodone and oxycodone. However, from 2016 to 2017, deaths involving fentanyl and other synthetic opioids increased by 20%. Drug traffickers in Southaven and throughout Mississippi often lace fentanyl into heroin to create more powerful and addictive products. Unfortunately, this tactic also increases the risks of overdose for ordinary Mississippians.
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How Is Southaven Responding to this Crisis?
The authorities in Southaven and DeSoto County have been leading an effort to reduce the number of opioid overdoses in their community. First and foremost, police in Southaven have begun to carry Narcan, a medication which reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, and Southaven pharmacies have started to sell Narcan without requiring a prescription. The city government has also organized awareness events to educate the people of Southaven about the signs and dangers of opioid abuse. On the state level, Mississippi now requires doctors to perform drug tests on patients before prescribing them opioid painkillers as well as other potentially addictive medications, such as Xanax. These measures will hopefully prevent more cases of addiction and save lives.
Southaven and Other Drugs
From 2011 to 2017, there were a total of 156 drug overdoses in Southaven and DeSoto County. These overdoses involved cocaine, methamphetamine, hallucinogens, and other drugs in addition to opioids. While opioids and heroin are the most threatening drugs to Southaven, drug traffickers have carried other drugs into the city as well. For example, police in Southaven arrested 11 members of a meth trafficking conspiracy in 2016. Two years later, the police arrested nine people throughout northern Mississippi who were working together to distribute meth and crack cocaine. As a large city in the Greater Memphis Area, Southaven remains a destination for criminals who are looking for a large customer base for illegal drugs.
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Although Southaven faces challenges with opioid addiction and illegal drugs, there are a variety of treatment centers and support groups in the city and throughout Mississippi for anyone who wants to get help with reclaiming their life. Drug addiction shows no mercy and requires treatment. If you or someone you know in Southaven needs help with conquering addiction to drugs or alcohol, please contact a dedicated treatment professional today to get answers to your questions.