October 31, 2018Dr. Marissa Giggie, associate professor in the College’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, participated in a community outreach panel October 18 about the causes and effects of, and solutions to, prescription opioid abuse in Alabama. The state has the highest rate of opioid prescribing in the nation. The panel presentation and discussion, “Leading the Nation in Opioid Prescriptions: What are the consequences for Alabama?” was hosted by the Department of Criminal Justice at The University of Alabama. In addition to Giggie, panelists included researchers, attorneys, members of law enforcement and policy experts. Alabama leads the nation in opioid prescriptions, with an average of 1.2 prescriptions per person compared to the national average of 0.71 prescriptions per person, according to 2015 data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That data also shows that there were 736 reported drug overdose deaths in Alabama in 2015, of which 38 percent were caused by opioids.