Supes discuss efforts against opioids

Oktibbeha County Courthouse (courtesy)
Staff Writer

The Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors is currently discussing joining the fight against the opioid epidemic.

Opioids are a class of drugs used to reduce pain. The most common opioids are prescription opioids, Fentanyl and Heroin.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain reliever. It is many times more powerful than other opioids and is approved for treating severe pain, typically in those with advanced cancer.

The board was provided a presentation from Chambers and Gaylor Law Firm in Jackson to discuss joining litigation against drug manufacturers.

The firm encouraged the board to pass a resolution claiming its efforts against the opioid epidemic.

“Opioid abuse is beginning to run somewhat rampant,” Board President Orlando Trainer said. “It impacts all of us in some form or fashion.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose deaths and opioid involved deaths continue to increase in the United States. Studies show more than six out of 10 drug overdose deaths involve opioids.

In the South, there was a total of 1,228 deaths in 2015.

Trainer said the passing of the resolution is something the board should consider for approval. He said it does not cost the county anything to be a part of the effort and in the end it is beneficial for residents.

Due to a small percentage of opioid cases in Oktibbeha County, Trainer said the county may not be able to declare the problem as a nuisance or emergency. Although not a problem now, Trainer said with the growth of the county and Mississippi State University, if the problem were to increase, it could potentially burden services like the hospital and for law enforcement.

“Anything that’s good or not so good, it’ll find its way here,” Trainer said.

Trainer said this is an opportunity for the county to be “on the offensive” by taking a stance.

The CDC says since 1999, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids has quadrupled.

From 2000 to 2015, more than half a million people died from drug overdoses. 91 Americans die each day involving an opioid overdose.

“I don’t think we should wait until it gets to our county before we try to deal with them,” Trainer said. “Once it gets here and it becomes visible, chances are you won’t be able to control it.”

The board did not take any action on the topic during their last meeting. The board is continuing its discussion on whether or not to join the efforts.