Nearly 100,000 people die from drug overdose every year in America, and nearly 400 of these deaths occur in our state of Mississippi. Since 1999, opioids have factored into 72% of the one million American drug misuse fatalities. These deaths have continued to surge during the COVID-19 pandemic, driven in large part by fatalities from synthetic opioids and illegal fentanyl. Stay-at-home orders led to profound social isolation, high unemployment, and increased stress at home, all of which contributed to relapse for many people in recovery. The pandemic has also limited access to addiction treatment for people trying to stop using drugs or to maintain abstinence. Overdose is the leading cause of avoidable death among those who inject drugs and, unfortunately, less than 10% of people who need treatment for opioid dependence receive it.
Attacking Addiction is important and timely because it focuses on providing overdose prevention education. It also develops a resource directory for recovery those in recovery and provides support services for their families.
Prevention and Education – Through my partnership with Stand Up, Mississippi and also the Mississippi Department of Mental Health, I serve as a statewide spokesperson and ambassador for the Be Brave campaign where we inspire people in communities across the state to share their stories of recovery, or how some are working to make a difference in the opioid crisis in their communities. This campaign tells the real stories of people whose lives were torn apart by drug misuse. Part of this campaign’s initiative called The Opioid Workplace Awareness Initiative, has allowed me to create videos regarding my grandfather’s opioid misuse – how it began and how it ended. At this year’s inaugural National Overdose Awareness Day with Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves and Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, I shared my story and spoke with children and adults in Mississippi to improve public perception of those dealing with substance misuse and provide support for families, strengthen policies for prevention and treatment, and promote statewide partnerships to combat the opioid crisis in our state. Recently, I became a trained volunteer for The Happiness Team with the William Magee Institute for Student Wellbeing where I educate, influence, and support middle and high school students in Mississippi to help them along the path of wellness.
Recovery and Support – www.attackingaddiction.com serves as a resource directory of drug rehab institutions in the state of Mississippi and to answer common questions about recovery. In addition, I drafted the AAA Pledge, a signature-based pledge of support and social media campaign to rally the nation by showing those in recovery that they are supported and not alone on their journey. Taking the AAA Pledge and sharing the infographic and hashtags provided on my website is a crucial way to create national attention and garner support for all in recovery. Those receiving treatment deserve to know that we believe in their long-term recovery, even when they are not ready to believe in it themselves. Those taking the pledge, show others that they believe in the power of recovery and human connection.
Please be advised that this site is not run by medical professionals. Its sole purpose is to educate about addiction and provide third party resources. Nothing on this site should be taken as medical advice. If you are struggling with addiction, please reach out to a certified healthcare provider.