Opioid prescription map

This map shows morphine milligram equivalents of opioids prescribed per capita in 2015 by county.

CORINTH – Alcorn and Tishomingo counties were among the highest opioid-prescribing counties in the nation in a new study.

They were the only two counties in Northeast Mississippi in the top quartile for opioid prescriptions, the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Alcorn and Tishomingo counties were two of only approximately 17 counties in the state that were in the top bracket for opioid prescriptions. There are 82 counties in Mississippi.

Magnolia Regional Health Center in Corinth issued a statement in response to the study.

“Every day, MRHC and our providers witness firsthand the impact that opioid use has on our community and our patients,” said Angela Nowlin, the hospital’s chief operating officer. “From the emergency department to the behavioral health unit, we consistently search for ways to recognize and manage this vulnerable population of patients.”

There were 1,375 morphine milligram equivalents of opioids prescribed per capita in Alcorn County in 2015, the report shows.

That means the amount of opioids prescribed per capita in Alcorn County in 2015 was more than twice the national figure of 640 morphine milligram equivalents per capita.

Nowlin said the hospital is vigilant when it comes to prescribing opioids.

It is “standard practice” in the emergency department to check that program before prescribing narcotics, Nowlin said.

The hospital also uses electronic health records to review patient visits and prescribing patterns, she added.

“When we encounter patients with known or suspected substance use disorders, we partner with state and local resources to offer treatment and referral options,” Nowlin said.

The amount of opioids prescribed in 2015 in Alcorn County was down from 2010 when there were 1,745 morphine milligram equivalents prescribed per capita.

In Tishomingo County, the amount of opioids prescribed in 2015 increased from 2010. There were 1,294 morphine milligram equivalents of opioids prescribed in Tishomingo County in 2015, which is up from 2010 when there were 1,066.

The fact that Tishomingo County saw an increase in 2015 went against the national trend. Opioid prescriptions peaked nationally in 2010 and decreased every year through 2015, the study said.

The amount of opioids prescribed across the country in 2015 was still about three times higher than 1999 even though there have been reductions.

Some counties in the United States had insufficient data in terms of the amount of opioids prescribed in 2015.

There were 52,404 overdose deaths in the United States in 2015, and about 63 percent involved an opioid.

The significant variation in opioid prescribing among counties nationally “suggests inconsistent practice patterns and a lack of consensus about appropriate opioid use and demonstrates the need for better application of guidance and standards around opioid prescribing practices,” the study said.

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