Michigan leaders call attention to opioid crisis during Opioid Addiction Awareness Week

LANSING — To help raise awareness of the dangers of addiction and the growing opioid epidemic, Gov. Rick Snyder has proclaimed Oct. 21-27 as Opioid Addiction Awareness Week in Michigan. The opioid epidemic is a public health crisis that is claiming more lives every year than car accidents.

“It’s no secret that Michigan is facing an addiction crisis and we need to do everything we can to combat this deadly issue,” said Lt. Gov. Brian Calley. “We are working hard to amplify efforts focused on prevention, treatment, education and enforcement of over-prescribers but we need to do more. In order to have more second chances and fewer funerals, we need to take our efforts to the next level and that is what Opioid Addiction Awareness Week is all about.”

The opioid crisis is a public health epidemic in Michigan and across the U.S., contributing to addiction, overdose emergencies and deaths.

Michigan’s rate of drug overdose is 20.2 per 100,000, which is significantly higher than years past.

There were 2,279 overdose deaths in Michigan in 2017, 1,941 were opioid-related, up from 1,786 opioid-related deaths in 2016 and 1,320 in 2015.

Michigan also unfortunately continues to see the rates increase of infants born with drug-exposure, going from 478 in 2010 to 863 as of 2016.

“The nation’s opioid crisis impacts all areas of Michigan – including urban, suburban and rural communities – all ages including young people and older Michiganders, and is unprejudiced in its reach and devastation,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “But the good news is that there is hope for those struggling with addiction and through the collaborative efforts by the State of Michigan, assistance through strategies such as the Naloxone Standing Order are now available to residents statewide to help save the lives of loved ones.” 

The state is using every available tool to combat the opioid epidemic. State agencies are collaborating to advance Michigan’s efforts related to fight this crisis. Efforts include:

• Providing online resources for patients, health professionals and communities about prevention and treatment of opioid abuse.

• The Michigan Automated Prescription System provides real-time prescription data and resources to better assess a patient’s risk for substance use disorder.

• Michigan State Police posts serving as drug-take back sites and providing the Angel Program for individuals struggling with addiction.

• Many State of Michigan agencies, communities and businesses throughout the state help with proper drug disposal of unwanted medications; and

• Issuing a standing order in May 2017 to pre-authorize the distribution of naloxone by pharmacists to those at risk of an opioid-related overdose, as well as family members, friends and other persons who may be able to assist a person at risk of overdose. Naloxone is a fast-acting, potentially life-saving medication that reverses opioid overdose.

Opioid Addiction Awareness Week efforts can be followed on social media using the hashtag #MIOpioidsAwareness.

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