Deanna Ward Photo

Deanna’s Story

The reverberations of opioid addiction can be felt for years. Deanna Woods, a social worker from Winona, experienced the devastation caused by addiction firsthand early on in life. “Throughout my childhood, I had a family member addicted to pain medication,” Deanna explains.

Understanding the impact opioid addiction can have on families, she committed herself to educating her neighbors, friends, and family about the dangers of opioid misuse. Deanna chose to become a social worker to help families impacted by addiction.

Deanna firmly believes education and awareness are critical to fighting the opioid crisis, noting family members can show they care by speaking up if they notice any signs of addiction. A significant part of her work is focused on helping the people she serves to learn to spot the signs of addiction in their loved ones.

She encourages people to monitor family members who use prescription painkillers and watch their routines for behaviors like doctor shopping, which occurs when a patient sees multiple treatment providers, either during a single illness episode or to procure prescription medications illicitly.

Ensuring healthcare providers and other social workers have the information they need to make a difference has become central to Deanna’s mission. However, she also believes all Mississippians can make a positive impact by asking state leaders to provide more support for addiction treatment.

The views, information, and opinions expressed in this story are solely those of the subject(s) and do not necessarily represent any official policy or position of the Mississippi Department of Mental Health or any of the Stand Up, Mississippi campaign partners.

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