The PROMISE Initiative
The PROMISE Initiative, PReventing Opioid Misuse In the SouthEast seeks to fight the growing opioid epidemic using a multi-phased approach to prevent prescription opioid misuse in rural Mississippi443 Mississippians died from an opioid-related overdose in 2020, a 124.9% increase since 2019 (MPDH, 2020). With Mississippi and the United States facing the worst increase in opioid-related deaths in recent years, the team of Extension professionals working on the PROMISE Initiative focuses on understanding all possible risk factors associated with substance misuse, mental health, and farm stress.
Topics addressed by PROMISE:
The PROMISE Initiative works to build resiliency-based extension programming in rural communities through: :
- Increasing community engagement, assessing the region’s perceived needs and readiness for education about opioid misuse, and implementing tailored programs to meet those needs
- Using hands-on extension education to build community capacity for understanding the opioid crisis.
- Developing and implementing media campaigns to encourage proper opioid use and disposal
- Identifying placement of prescription drug take-back boxes throughout the state
- Conducting Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid training.
- Combating farm stress in agriculturally engaged populations, identified as a common risk factor for mental health
This project is supported by Rural Health and Safety Education Grant No. 2020-46100-32841 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Rural Opioids Technical Assistance (ROTA) Grant No. 5H79TI083275-02 from the DHHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the MS Governor’s Education Emergency Response Funds 2020, and USDA NIFA Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network – State Department of Agriculture Grant No. 2021-70035-35566 from Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- The rollout of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline offers more hope to individuals dealing with mental-health-related distress. That population includes farmers and farm workers, who are among those most at risk for suicide and mental health distress.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, male agricultural workers have the fourth highest suicide rate among men in all industries.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Over-the-counter medications and supplements seem safer than prescription drugs, but a dramatic rise in pediatric melatonin overdoses serves as a warning that these products can be dangerous and must be stored safely.
A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a 530% increase in melatonin overdose in children from 2012 to 2020. Most of these ingestions were unintentional and occurred among children 5 or younger in their homes.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- For Nathan Casburn, the land that has been in his family since the early 1900s is now more than simply his workplace.
The Tallahatchie County farm is a place of healing from an opioid addiction that began with pain medication prescribed after he was in a car accident during high school.
Casburn explained in a miniseries titled “On the Farm” that one of the biggest hurdles in his recovery was “saying I can’t do this on my own, and I need help with this.”
LOUISVILLE, Miss. -- Jim McAdory wears many hats. On any given day, the Mississippi State University Extension Service agent fields calls from local cattle farmers, teaches kids about the importance of daily nutrition, and tests soil to diagnose front yard and garden harvest problems -- all before lunch.
Based in Winston County, McAdory recently gained an additional role: Mental Health First Aid instructor.
Colby Hardin managed his depression since he was diagnosed at 18. With medication, he kept it under control throughout college, while working at Mississippi State University's dairy farm.
Extension destigmatizes mental health issues, one conversation at a time
When Colby Hardin first started working at the Arkansas Department of Corrections dairy farm, he prepared as if going to war.
In this "What's New in Extension," Extension agents implement better safety standards, train to deliver Mental Health First Aid, and receive national recognition. Also, new irrigation and specialists join the Extension family.