State departments team up to provide drug to help victims of overdoses

Photo: WJTV

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — Governor Phil Bryant hopes to get a drug that has helped saved people from opioid overdoses in the hands of first responders across the state.

The Mississippi Department of Mental Health is partnering with Mississippi Department of Public Safety Sworn Personnel to provide Naloxone.

The medication NARCAN, is a FDA approved form of Naloxone. It will be paid for through funding from a $3.6 million grant.

Photo: WJTV

Gov. Bryant and other officials held a news conference Thursday morning to discuss the grant for the drug.

“I am grateful this partnership between the Mississippi Department of Mental Health and the Mississippi Department of Public Safety will allow sworn law enforcement personnel to carry this lifesaving drug”, said Governor Phil Bryant.   “We must employ every available resource to combat opioid overdoses in our state, and I appreciate these agencies’ cooperation to contribute to that effort.”

“These partnerships to provide Naloxone to communities throughout the state will help save lives,” said Diana Mikula, Executive Director of the Department of Mental Health.  “Even with this medication, it is important to remember that this is no substitute for treatment.  If you or someone else needs help, we urge you to reach out.  There are people throughout the state who want to help you get on the road to recovery.”

Officials say one out of every ten people in Mississippi abuse prescription drugs.

He said victims of these overdoses suffer from a dangerous disease and should be treated with the same urgency as anyone involved in an accident. He says the number one goal is to save lives. The decision to distribute the medication comes less than 24 hours after a drug task force meeting.

Naloxone is a medication that can block or reverse the effects of opioids, particularly in an overdose situation.

Law enforcement is working with several different entities, including the Mississippi Department of Mental Health to make it happen.

There is also a plan to get the drug to police officers and sheriff’s departments in high-risk areas.

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