Researchers expand addiction treatment services in Mississippi

The University of Mississippi Medical Center has been awarded a $6 million grant to expand drug and alcohol addiction services across the state. Since the onset of the pandemic, opioid and alcohol abuse has risen drastically both in Mississippi and across the nation. Jefferson Parker, a psychologist at the medical center, says it’s important that these services be available for all Mississippians, regardless of where they live. He says telehealth can close that gap.

“And they will provide evaluation, and if it’s appropriate there are medications that are approved for alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder. And they’ll be able to go ahead and prescribe that,” says Parker. “Through the grant, if they can’t pay for it we’ll be able to pay for the medicine ahead of time and they’ll be able to go pick it up.”

While the primary goal of this project is to help treat patients, data will also be collected to better understand how addiction can be treated via telemedicine. James Rowlett with the Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry, says researchers will do periodic interviews with the patients and monitor their recovery efforts.

“Two health economists on the team who will be able to look at not only the impact of the treatment on the patients and their families,” says Rowlett. “We also have implementation scientists and others so we have a good picture of how the whole thing is working in the community.”

Of the nearly 15 million US residents who had alcohol use disorder in a 2019 study, only 7.2% received any form of treatment during the following year.


Comments are closed.