The headlines tell the story.
With each passing day, another death is recorded from opioid overdose and another grieving family must come to terms with the loss of a loved one.
A new addiction treatment center has opened in Walls to serve a greater part of western DeSoto County and the Mid-South.
New Season Recovery DeSoto County Treatment Center complements similar facilities on the eastern side of the county, such as Turning Point in Southaven and Oxford Treatment Center in Olive Branch.
New Season Treatment Center, located at 8900 Delta Bluffs Cove in Walls, is an outpatient treatment center that has started small — with a little more than seven patients — a number that has now grown to more than 20 and counting, with a capacity of more than 350 patients on an outpatient basis.
"What they're doing is so needed," said Carmen Kyle, Executive Director of the Southaven Chamber of Commerce, one of several local and county officials who toured the Walls facility on Thursday. "Based on the fact that DeSoto County is No. 1 in Mississippi in heroin and opioid-related deaths, it's a hidden problem that is finally coming to light. This facility is key to combating those statistics. Having that set of statistics is not good for quality of life or people's health."
DeSoto County Coroner Jeff Pounders agreed. "I think it's a great idea to have a treatment facility that can prevent some of these deaths from occurring," Pounders said. "Obviously, there are people dying at a phenomenal rate. I had two die this week from overdose. I applaud anything that puts people on the right track."
New Season is operated by Colonial Management Group, LP (CMG), a leading provider of opioid addiction treatment in the U.S.
"The deaths, the overdoses continue to occur," said Todd Eury, Director of Business Development and Strategy for New Season|Colonial Management Group, LP.
Eury said that New Season wishes to establish a reciprocal care agreement with Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto and other agencies to help stem the tide of opioid overdoses and treat opioid addiction.
New Season has featured specialized care for opioid addiction management since 1986.
Since many of the addicted involve recently paroled or released inmates from drug convictions and other offenses, New Season wishes to build a relationship with those individuals who have been released and help them on the road to recovery.
"We also want to bring an awareness with law enforcement about what we are planning to do," Eury said.
Mississippi had 336 deaths in 2014, representing a seven-percent increase in opioid-related deaths.
A 2014 Centers For Disease Control analysis found that Mississippians received prescription pain pills at a rate of 120 prescriptions per 100 population.
Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illicit drug heroin as well as the prescription painkillers oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl and others.
According to Eury, four in five new heroin users started out by misusing prescription painkillers.
Ninety-four percent of respondents in a 2014 survey of people in treatment for opioid addiction said they began using heroin because prescription opioids were “far more expensive and harder to obtain.”
Heroin use has increased across the U.S. with some of the greatest increases occurring in demographic groups having historically low rates of heroin use: women, the privately insured, and people with higher incomes.
"We would like to work with churches, the DeSoto County Sheriff's Department and other agencies," said Adrian Hall, M.S., CAT, and New Season Program Director. "We want other agencies to challenge us and make us better.
Hall said the treatment center is looking to hire seven more counselors and four RN's, in addition to a PRN, a medical doctor and pharmacist.
The treatment center, which comprises 2,600 square feet, has been operational since April 3. The treatment facility has formed partnerships with Parkwood Behavioral Health Center in Olive Branch and Delta Medical Center in Memphis.
"We believe in the disease concept of addictive illness and that treatment
services should be delivered in a way that respects the dignity, value and
self-worth of every patient," Eury said. "Patients are enrolled into a comprehensive Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) program, which includes individual and group counseling to address psychological and social needs in addition to their chemical dependence."
"Our mission is to strengthen community wellness and vitality by addressing opioid addiction with the most innovative health treatments available based on the latest science, research and proven models," added Eury.
New Season operates 72 clinics in 22 states with managed care for more than 28,000 patients, the second largest provider in the U.S. for treating opioid addictions.
Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at rlong@desototimestribune or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.