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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 taking an upstream approach to the opioid epidemic. The PROMISE Initiative utilizes a multi-phased approach to promote prescription opioid misuse prevention in rural Mississippi that includes:

  1. community engagement forums to assess the perceived needs and readiness of the community for education on this topic,
  2. Extension agent-led and peer-to-peer education,
  3. social marketing campaign, and
  4. placement of prescription drug take-back boxes throughout the community.

The information gathered from the community members, and a state-wide survey will be used to develop and implement a social marketing campaign that promotes proper use and disposal of prescription opioids, as well as incorporate proper use and disposal strategies for prescription opioids into Mississippi State University Extension Service educational materials.

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 10, 2018, seven of the nine community engagement forums have been conducted. Three in Tishomingo County, three in Itawamba County, and one of the three in Lee County have been conducted.

The state-wide survey is scheduled to be administered by Monday, April 23, 2018, through a Qualtrics panel. If you are interested in participating in the survey, please email Mary Nelson Robertson at by May 1, 2018.

Press Room


Mississippi State University Staff Members

  • David Buys, Ph.D., Project Director
  • Laura Downey, Ph.D., 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

  • Daniel Williams, Ph.D., 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:

  • April 10, 2018, at 6:30 PM in Kosciusko at Attala County Coliseum
  • April 24, 2018, at 6:30 PM in Corinth at Corinth High School Auditorium
  • May 22, 2018, at 6:30 PM in Lucedale at Refuge United Methodist Church

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
BOX 9805
945 Stone Blvd.
Mississippi State, MS 39762
(662) 325 -3060 OR (662) 207-7267


Use the form below, 

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