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The PROMISE Initiative

The United States, including the state of Mississippi, is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. Approximately 150 people die every day from an opioid overdose. Therefore, PReventing Opioid Misuse in the SouthEast, the PROMISE Initiative, is fighting the opioid epidemic with a multi-phased approach to prevent prescription opioid misuse in rural Mississippi.

PROMISE Initiative efforts include

  • community engagement forums that assess the region’s perceived needs and readiness for education about opioid misuse,
  • Extension education, agent-led and peer-to-peer, to expand knowledge about proper opioid use,
  • a social marketing campaign to encourage proper opioid use, and
  • placement of prescription drug take-back boxes throughout the state.

Information gathered from community members, in person and from statewide surveys, will be used to develop and implement the social marketing campaign to promote proper use and disposal of prescription opioids. The community-based research will also be incorporated into Mississippi State University Extension Service educational materials that encourage proper use and disposal of prescription opioids.

This project was supported by the FY17 USDA NIFA Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grants Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Grant # 2017-46100-27225.


As of April 26, 2018, nine community engagement forums in three PROMISE counties, Tishomingo County, Itawamba County, and Lee County, are complete. The statewide survey was administered in May 2018. PROMISE Initiative leaders are analyzing the data collected during the community engagement forums and from the statewide survey.

An African-American man wearing a white U.S. military uniform stands smiling. A blonde woman in a black blazer stands on the left, smiling, and a brunette in a black blouse stands on the left.
On May 17, 2018, at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Extension Instructor and PROMISE Co-Project Director Ann Sansing, left, and Project Coordinator Mary Nelson Robertson met and briefed U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams about the PROMISE Initiative’s progress in Mississippi.

On July 12 and 13, 2018, Robertson attended the second annual Opioid and Heroin Mississippi Drug Summit in Madison. She connected with other organizations to learn more about other steps organizations and individuals are taking to combat the opioid crisis in Mississippi.

Press Room


Mississippi State University Staff Members

  • Dr. David Buys, Project Director
  • Dr. Laura Downey, Co-Project Director
  • Ann Sansing, Co-Project Director
  • Elizabeth G. North, Co-Project Director
  • Mary Nelson Robertson, Project Coordinator

University of Mississippi Medical Center Staff Member

  • Dr. Daniel Williams, Co-Project Director

Mississippi State Extension Service Agents

  • Emily Cox, Tishomingo County
  • Beth Youngblood, Lee County
  • Romona Edge, Itawamba County

Other Partners

  • Rozelia Harris, Office of Rural Health
  • Jennifer Pope, Bureau of Narcotics
  • Ann Rodio, Department of Mental Health
  • Meg Pearson, Department of Mental Health

Other Resources

Stand Up, Mississippi is a statewide initiative to end the opioid crisis and inspire all Mississippians to work together to create a stronger and healthier future. Every person is part of the solution. Each of us can make a difference today by standing up and speaking out.

The primary goals of this comprehensive effort are to improve public perception of people dealing with substance use disorder, strengthen policies for prevention and treatment, and promote statewide partnerships to combat the opioid crisis in Mississippi.

If you or someone you know needs help, you can find a treatment center near you, or call 1 (877) 210 – 8513.

Opioid Town Hall Meetings 2018 The Mississippi Board of Pharmacy in partnership with the Department of Mental Health, The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, and the Jackson Division of the FBI are hosting multiple Opioid Town Hall Rallies throughout Mississippi to bring awareness to communities across our state about opioid abuse and what you can do to help reduce the death and destruction caused by opioid addiction.

Upcoming Town Hall Meetings:

The Mississippi Board of Pharmacy, in partnership with the Department of Mental Health, the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, and the Jackson Division of the FBI, are hosting multiple Opioid Town Hall Rallies throughout Mississippi. These gatherings are bringing awareness to communities about opioid abuse and what citizens can do to help reduce the death and destruction caused by opioid addiction.

  • Carthage — Aug. 21, 2018, at 6:30 in The Old Elementary School at 500 N. Van Buren Street  

Governor Bryant's Opioid and Heroin Study Task Force has released its recommendations to help Mississippi curb the number of overdoses and death that the opioid epidemic is causing.

United States Department of Agriculture: Opioid Misuse in Rural America

Contact Us

Mailing Address

PROMISE Initiative
Attn: Dr. David Buys or Mary Nelson Robertson
945 Stone Blvd.
Box 9805
Mississippi State, MS 39762

Phone numbers
(662) 325 -3060
(662) 207-7267


Use the form below.

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