JACKSON, Miss. – Dr. Jerome Adams, the nation’s 20th U.S. Surgeon General visited Mississippi in May to bring the message of the importance of greater access to the opioid-reversion drug naloxone to help reduce overdose deaths.
During a visit to the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Adams noted, “It takes about four minutes before irreversible brain injury happens from an opioid overdose. Anyone ever see an ambulance arrive in four minutes? I carry it with me all the time in my bag,” Adams said of naloxone, which is available in a nebulizer mist or by injection. He continued, “Any one of you can stabilize someone. Anyone in your community can be a lifesaver.”
Recognizing the nation’s opioid emergency, Adams on April 5th issued the first surgeon general’s advisory in more than a decade. It encourages more people to routinely carry naloxone, which can restore and sustain normal breathing until first responders arrive.
Adams visited UMMC at the invitation of Dr. Claude Brunson, a fellow anesthesiologist and the Medical Center’s senior adviser to the vice chancellor for external affairs, where he took part in a panel discussion with Gov. Phil Bryant and three of the state’s top health and law enforcement officials. Upon leaving UMMC, Dr. Adams visited Harbor House Chemical Dependency Services in Jackson.
Since the Surgeon General’s visit, the Mississippi State Department of Health Board of Pharmacy has announced that pharmacists are permitted to dispense naloxone by request without a prescription in an effort to make the life-saving drug more accessible. According to Dr. Mary Currier, MS State Health Officer, “Expansion of the availability and use of this drug could greatly reduce drug overdose deaths and save lives. It’s important that Mississippians – any family member, friend or other person in a position to help someone suffering from an opioid overdose – are aware of the availability of this drug and know how to administer it if the need arises.”