Mississippi Substance Abuse Statistics

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis completed medical school at The University of Mississippi Medical Center and residency in general psychiatry in 2003. He completed a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 2005. Following this, he served as Chief Medical Officer for 10 years of Brentwood Behavioral Healthcare a private health system including a 105-bed hospital, residential treatment, and intensive outpatient services.

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Understanding Substance Use Disorder in Mississippi: Statistics and Treatment Options

It can be challenging for individuals to recognize the need for treatment after using illicit drugs, prescription drugs, or alcohol. This difficulty arises from the fact that repeated substance use alters brain function, and these changes can persist for years, even after ceasing substance use. However, seeking treatment for a substance use disorder can help you regain control and return to your pre-substance use self.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use in Mississippi, the following statistics and treatment information can provide insight and support, reassuring you that you are not facing these challenges alone.

Mississippi Substance Abuse Statistics

In 2019, Mississippi had 393 drug overdose deaths, but in 2020, this number jumped 49% to 586. Also during these months, deaths due to the abuse of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids increased by 125%. Opioids are a significant problem in Mississippi as they are in many other parts of the country.

In 2020, of the overdose deaths this year, 69% of them were related to opioids, and deaths due to the abuse of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids made up 53% of overdose deaths. In 2019, synthetic opioids were only implicated in 35% of overdose deaths.

Mississippians were dying of overdoses due to the abuse of other substances as well. In 2020, amphetamines amounted to 39% of overdose deaths. Heroin was implicated in overdose deaths 12% of the time that year, and cocaine was present in 11% of the overdose deaths of that year.

The number of Mississippians abusing illicit substances has been growing for the past several years. Between 2011 and 2020, overdose deaths due to multiple substances increased. In 2011, 279 people died from multi-substance overdoses, but in 2020, the number jumped to 586.

Drug overdoses in the 0-34, 35-44, and 45-54 age groups increased from 2019 to 2020. In the 0-34 age group, overdose deaths went from 99 in 2019 to 195 in 2020. They jumped from 108 in 2019 to 166 in 2020 in the 35-44 age group and leaped from 78 overdose deaths in 2019 to 119 in 2020 in the 45-54 age group. The only age group that saw a decrease in its overdose deaths was the 55+ age group, which went from 108 overdose deaths in 2019 to 106 overdoses in 2020.

Overall, these statistics point to a growing concern regarding substance use disorders among Mississippians.

The Growing Challenge of Substance Use in Mississippi

In Mississippi, the prevalence of fentanyl and other opioids has become a major concern. This rise can be attributed to the excessive prescription of opioids by the medical community, prompting efforts to curb prescription rates. Unfortunately, drug cartels have stepped in to fulfill the demand, leading to an influx of fentanyl and other opioids into the United States.

The medical community’s efforts to reduce the number of drug prescriptions have been ongoing, yet Mississippi continues to struggle with prescription drug abuse due to illegal acquisition of these drugs. For instance, individuals may engage in “doctor shopping” by seeking additional opioids from different physicians without their primary care physician’s knowledge after being denied refills.

The prevalence of methamphetamine in the state is an even greater concern as it is easily accessible, pure, and affordable for consumers. Crystal meth is the most commonly found form of methamphetamine in Mississippi, often obtained illegally from criminal groups operating outside the state. While powder and crack cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and new psychoactive substances are not as prevalent in Mississippi currently, there are still individuals who abuse these substances in small numbers. Given the widespread issue of substance use disorders in the state, ensuring access to treatment is crucial.

Why Treat Substance Use Disorder?

A person with a substance use disorder faces various health and personal challenges in their daily life. Fortunately, the medical community has developed effective treatments. Researchers have discovered various treatment methods that help individuals overcome their addictions, enabling them to cease using their substances of choice and reintegrate into their productive lives.

While it’s important to note that a substance use disorder cannot be outright cured, it can be effectively managed. Similar to other chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, substance use disorders can be controlled through a combination of interventions like therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. These treatments work to counteract the harmful effects of substances on the brain and behavior, reducing the risk of relapse and supporting long-term recovery.

What Is Relapse?

Substance use disorder is commonly referred to as a “relapsing disease,” indicating that individuals may resume using substances post-treatment. However, relapse does not indicate that the treatment was ineffective or futile. It is essential to recognize that relapse can be a part of the recovery process, and modern treatments are tailored to help individuals prevent relapse.

Similar to chronic medical conditions like asthma and hypertension, relapses can occur. For instance, the relapse rates for asthma and hypertension range from 50% to 70%. On the other hand, the relapse rate for substance use disorders falls between 40% and 60%. One reason that people experience a relapse is because withdrawal symptoms begin to present themselves.

What Are Withdrawal Symptoms?

Withdrawal symptoms are the body’s reaction to stopping the use of a substance that it has become dependent on. In the case of a substance use disorder, such as fentanyl addiction, the body can experience severe negative effects when the substance is no longer consumed. These symptoms can be uncomfortable or even unbearable, leading individuals to seek the substance again in order to alleviate them. This cycle can make it difficult to stop using the substance and highlights the importance of seeking treatment for addiction.

With fentanyl, for example, withdrawal symptoms typically manifest between 12 and 30 hours after the last dose and may include:

  • Weakness
  • Stomach cramps
  • Sweating
  • Restlessness or difficulties sleeping
  • Runny nose
  • Yawning
  • Pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Diarrhea
  • Goosebumps or chills
  • Intense cravings for fentanyl

These symptoms can persist for a couple of weeks, underscoring the importance of not attempting to undergo withdrawal alone. Medical detox programs, like the one offered at Defining Wellness Centers, can provide medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms while closely monitoring your progress to ensure a comfortable experience.

Defining Wellness Centers also offers treatment for various other addictions, including Xanax, tramadol, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines, Adderall, and alcoholism. Choosing a treatment center like Defining Wellness Centers can provide medical detox to help with withdrawal symptoms associated with these substances and provide comprehensive recovery support.

Getting Help for Addiction

The first step in treating your substance use disorder is medical detox. At Defining Wellness Centers, our medical detox program ensures that you receive the necessary care and support during this critical phase. This process is essential before addressing the psychological aspects of addiction as it helps manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings, allowing you to focus on recovery.

What Are the Symptoms of a Psychological Dependence?

Common symptoms of a psychological dependence include the following:

  • Thinking about or using the substance most of the time
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Strong emotional cravings for your substance of choice
  • Believing that you need to ingest the substance to perform daily activities

You can treat your psychological dependence with various evidence-based therapies, including the following.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Research has established that cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective treatment for substance use disorder. This therapy aims to modify thinking patterns through various strategies. One key approach involves assisting individuals in recognizing distorted thinking contributing to problematic behaviors. Therapists then help individuals reframe their perceptions to align more closely with reality rather than the distortions often created in one’s mind.

Additionally, cognitive behavioral therapy aids in changing problematic behaviors such as facing avoidance behaviors and addressing fears by gradually exposing individuals to challenging situations. Techniques like role-playing and learning relaxation methods to manage anxiety are also commonly employed in this form of therapy.

Motivational Interviewing

With motivational interviewing, your therapist guides you so that you can strengthen your motivation to make the changes you need to make. Initially, particular attention is spent on building rapport between you and your counselor. Then, you can move on to eliminating the ambivalence you feel about making changes in your behavior.

Ambivalence is not seen as something to fight against. With motivational interviewing, it is seen as a natural part of changing one’s behaviors. Your therapist will motivate you to change your behavior during your counseling sessions.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy is a method that helps you learn to manage the intense emotions you experience. It is also instrumental in helping you cope during challenging situations and improving your relationships. Therapists offer this therapy in individual and group sessions where being judgmental is not allowed as they encourage compassion.

Medication-Assisted Therapy

Medication-assisted therapy (MAT) is a comprehensive approach to treating substance use disorders by combining medications with behavioral therapies and counseling. It aims to address all aspects of a person’s condition. The medications used in MAT programs are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are prescribed by a physician based on individual needs. Studies have shown that the combination of medications and therapies is effective in treating substance use disorders, helping to sustain recovery and reducing the risk of overdose.

Research has indicated that MAT can lead to various positive outcomes, including increased chances of finding stable employment, decreased use of illicit substances, longer duration of treatment engagement, reduced substance-related deaths, and improved outcomes for babies born to mothers with substance use disorders.

Why Seek Treatment at Defining Wellness Centers?

Seeking treatment for a substance use disorder is best done at a facility that offers a variety of evidence-based treatments, such as the Defining Wellness Centers. Our treatment center stands out for its incorporation of evidence-based therapies that have been proven effective. Beyond traditional methods, we recognize the interconnectedness of the body, mind, and spirit, ensuring that your treatment is holistic. Each client is treated uniquely with a personalized treatment plan designed to meet individual needs and goals.

Defining Wellness Centers provides options that include inpatient rehab, partial hospitalization, and outpatient rehab. Moreover, our commitment to your recovery extends beyond the initial treatment, with comprehensive aftercare support to maintain long-term wellness. If you are seeking a safe and effective treatment center for yourself or a loved one struggling with addiction, please reach out to Defining Wellness Centers today.

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