NSPARC awarded prestigious grant to aid state in opioid crisis

Contact: Laura McPhail

STARKVILLE, Miss.— Data will play an integral part in the fight against the opioid crisis in Mississippi thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration. MSU’s National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center is receiving $200,000 from HRSA, to be used to leverage data in efforts to prevent opioid abuse, treat addiction, and help law enforcement combat this crisis across the state.

The project will serve 67 HRSA-designated rural counties in Mississippi and two counties that contain eligible census tracts. Also, a statewide consortium of agencies that has a vested interest in ending the opioid epidemic has been formed. In addition to NSPARC, these agencies include the Mississippi Board of Pharmacy, Mississippi Department of Human Services, Mississippi Public Health Institute, and Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

Using the existing State Longitudinal Data System architecture as a framework, NSPARC plans to establish a statewide clearinghouse where data from multiple entities can be collected, integrated and aligned, providing partner agencies with data-driven decision-making tools and maximizing efficiency of Mississippi’s resources strategically and in high-needs areas.

“The data we collect, align, and analyze will play a significant role in responding to the opioid crisis in Mississippi,” said Domenico “Mimmo” Parisi, executive director of NSPARC. “Our consortium is committed to using data to prevent opioid misuse and abuse, treat those who suffer from addiction, and to help enforce federal and state regulations on prescription and illicit forms of the drugs. We are dedicated to helping Mississippi prevent a full-blown opioid epidemic.”

Establishment of this clearinghouse is in direct response to a major objective outlined in the Governor’s Opioid and Heroin Study Task Force final report released in 2017 as directed by Governor Phil Bryant’s Executive Order 1388.

According to a 2018 report by the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, the highest percentage of opioid prescriptions are being provided to Mississippians residing in rural counties across the state. The report said an increase in overdose deaths in conjunction with the fact that 81 percent of Mississippi counties meet the HRSA-designation of “rural,” gives strong indication that the opioid crisis will evolve into a statewide opioid epidemic if a plan for prevention, treatment, and recovery is not rapidly implemented.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

NSPARC at Mississippi State University is expanding the boundaries of data science to create knowledge and innovations that drive human progress. Our expertise includes data analytics, predictive analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, system of systems, data governance, cybersecurity, cloud technology and high-performance computing. Known primarily for our work with smart government and more than 50 data innovations created in the last 10 years, NSPARC has achieved national prominence in the data science field. For more information, visit nsparc.msstate.edu.