Mississippi is trying to fight the rapidly growing opioid epidemic by educating communities across the state. A town hall was held in Philadelphia Tuesday to discuss the severity of opioid abuse.

There were more than 200 drug overdose deaths in Mississippi just last year.

“We’re going to be at that number or above this year,” says Steve Parker, Mississippi Board of Pharmacy, Deputy Director.

The state is fighting to end the opioid epidemic that’s plaguing not only Mississippi, but the entire nation.

“Prevention is the cure,” says Philadelphia Mayor James Young.

And knowledge is key. That’s why town halls across the state are talking about how severe opioid abuse is.

“This is an effort to bring this issue of addiction and abuse to the attention to the public,” says Parker.

Mississippi is on the forefront of tackling the problem by openly talking about it and how they’re going to stop it.

“The simple way to get out of it is to stop using it but these are very addictive drugs, and it takes everybody pulling together,” says Young.

Including legislators, who are already trying to see if new laws can help fight opioid abuse and addiction.

“The ultimate goal should be for us, as citizen, to talk to our children, talk to our grandchildren, talk to our friends in our churches,” says Parker. “Be involved in reaching out to those who are suffering.”

These highly addictive pills are ruining families and lives. Talking is at least a start.

“To our teenagers, to our youth, it’s really affected some of them and the families. We hope it’s something we can get a handle on to learn as much about to prevent it,” says Young.

A record 211 drug overdose deaths were reported in Mississippi last year. Each day, 46 people die from an overdose of prescription painkillers in the U.S. Ten of the highest prescribing states for painkillers are in the south.

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