Mississippi boasts some of the largest rivers in the United States. It also has miles of expansive coastline, and was the original state for the blues. Although the state is steeped in beauty and history, it also struggles with high rates of substance abuse and addiction.
The state used to be lowly ranked in terms of the rates of substance and alcohol abuse and addiction for several years. However, this trend has been change and several hundreds of thousands of its citizens now struggle with these problems today.
In 2016, for instance, the NSDUH - the National Survey on Drug Use and Health - reported that over 31 percent of its population above the age of 12 years had drank alcohol at least once in the month prior to the survey. During this same period, 17 percent of this population admitted that they had engaged in binge drinking.
The same report showed that 227,000 residents had taken an illicit intoxicating substance within the past month. Of this number, more than 17,000 percent were children or teenagers.
In 2017, the TEDS - or Treatment Episode Data Set Admissions - report showed that 7,605 people were enrolled in addiction treatment and rehabilitation facilities in the state. This number was relatively low in comparison to the estimated 190,000 people who needed alcohol and drug recovery services in Mississippi that year.
The state Department of Mental Health has also reported that every year about 12,000 young people below the age of 18 years struggle with a drug or alcohol dependence problem. Unfortunately, only about 185 people from this population received funding to seek treatment for this disorder from the same department in 2015.
In 2017, it was estimated that about 5,000 people abused heroin at least once within the past year in Mississippi. This was in comparison to the more than 104,000 residents who reported that they had misused prescription opioid pain relief medications.
The same year, doctors and other health care professionals in the state wrote 92 prescriptions for 100 people. Although this figure was lower than it had been in preceding years, the state is still ranked in the top 5 across the United States in terms of opioid medication prescriptions.
Other statistics show that Mississippi struggles with high rates of heroin abuse and addiction, a problem that is most common among people above the age of 26 years. Most of the 10,000 people below the age of 18 years who reported abusing opioid pain relief medications said that they took these drugs from their family members. In total, over 70,000 residents of the state reported that they abused prescription opioid drugs on a regular basis.
In 2016, the state had a total list of 72 facilities on the National Directory of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Treatment Facilities provided by SAMHSA - the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This goes to show that it is possible to received help for a substance use disorder or an addiction problem in Mississippi.