“Be bold: speak out to prevent opioid addiction.

Be brave: share how you recovered from opioid addiction.

Be better: find out about treatment options.”

The slogan cited above for the campaign titled, “Stand Up, Mississippi,” is part of the state’s opioid addiction education and prevention program, funded through a $3.58 million federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant awarded in April 2017.

On par with the devastating national trend, Mississippi experienced over 220 opioid-related deaths last year, more than any prior year.

“No corner of our country, from rural areas to urban centers, has escaped the scourge of the opioid crisis,” Tom Price, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said. ”The Trump Administration is taking strong, decisive action to respond to the crisis caused by the opioid epidemic. These grants from the Health Resources Services Administration go directly to local organizations, which are best situated to address substance abuse and mental health issues in their own communities.”

Of the $3.58 million federal grant to combat the epidemic in Mississippi, 80 percent — equating to $2.87 million — is being spent on expanding treatment services. This includes increasing access to medication-assisted treatment, counseling and peer support services, and identifying and treating opioid abuse during pregnancy.

Mississippi is expected to receive an additional $3.58 million grant this month via SAMHSA, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

New Season, the nation’s leading provider of opioid addiction recovery, has four treatment centers that serve the state of Mississippi. One of the facilities, the Biloxi Treatment Center, hosted a group of distinguished guests at their first anniversary celebration tour March 29.

“It will take all of us working together to change this,” said guest Christopher Mosely from Gulf Coast Workforce Solutions at the event. “Let’s put our heads together to figure out what we can do because this [opioid epidemic] is tearing our community to pieces.”

Mosely was one of five other influential advocates in the state that attended the event. Some of the patients receiving treatment at the Biloxi Treatment Center also were in attendance.

One of the patients shared his story, stating “I’ve been to several inpatient and outpatient facilities, and this place treats you like a real person. You can just tell when you walk through the door, they support you.”

Another patient who shared their experience agreed, and said “when I first started coming it was tough. But every day they greeted me with a smile, told me to hang in there and just come back tomorrow. After two weeks, I felt better and found myself telling other new patients the same thing.”

Biloxi’s Treatment Center is currently treating more than 200 patients, and 49 of them are receiving care under the federal grant money. State officials said they speculate additional monies will be available this year, in which New Season will be able to provide additional pro bono and discounted treatment if and when these funds become available.

“Families are suffering,” Selena Phillips from Families First For Mississippi said during the tour. “We have free programs and job skills training to assist them.”

New Season is proud to be part of the strong and growing team of advocates in Mississippi and nationwide to help those whose lives are being affected by opioid addiction. Because of New Season’s solid reputation in Mississippi and beyond, state officials said they would like to see more treatment locations throughout the state.

Kudos to Hazel Hooven, Cynthia Luna, Candis Lee and all the New Season employees in the state of Mississippi who are determined advocates for the patients who so greatly need their support.