By Josh Mitchell
Corinth Today News Editor
Alcorn County Coroner Jay Jones said fatal drug overdoses occurred in Alcorn County in 2017, but the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics has no record of such deaths.
“We do have them (overdose deaths),” said Jones.
Does this mean drug overdose deaths are occurring in Alcorn County but are not being reported to MBN as required by law?
Coroners, law enforcement officers and health-care providers “shall notify (MBN) of any death caused by a drug overdose within 24 hours,” state statute says.
But MBN has no record of any overdose deaths in Alcorn County for 2016 or 2017.
MBN has records of five overdose deaths for Prentiss County in 2017, four for Tishomingo County and none for Tippah County.
The state health department reports that Alcorn County has had 26 drug poisoning deaths from 2012-2016. Of those 26 deaths, nine were in 2016 (See chart below). Figures for 2017 were not yet available.
Jones said it can take several months to get a toxicology report back from the state crime lab to confirm whether a death was caused by a drug overdose.
Potential Alcorn County overdose deaths from last year are currently pending review by the state crime lab, Jones added. Toxicology reports confirm whether someone died of a drug overdose or something else, he noted. The death certificate is marked as “pending” until the crime lab’s review is done, he said.
Jones said any toxicology reports done on 2016 drug overdoses should be completed by now. He said he would need to review his records to possibly provide a number of fatal drug overdoses in Alcorn County in 2016.
Fatal drug overdoses often involve a person using a combination of prescription drugs in conjunction with other substances, such as alcohol or methamphetamine, Jones noted. The person abusing the drugs may already be in poor health due to lifestyle choices, Jones said.
Jones has been coroner for six years and says overdose deaths come in “spurts,” but he thinks it has slowed down some.