There Was A Record Number Of Opioid Deaths In Michigan Last Year–What’s The Solution?

“You just can’t give up on people [who are addicted], because sometimes they do recover.”

Last year a new record was set for opioid-related deaths in Michigan. Nearly 2000 of all 2700 overdose deaths in Michigan were related to opioids.

But the growth rate in deaths is slowing. Still, the county with the highest number of opioid deaths is Wayne County (573), almost double the next county, Macomb (285). About a third of all opioid deaths are from prescriptions.

Karen Bouffard is the health care reporter for the Detroit News. She spoke with Macomb County 41B District Court Judge Linda Davis about the epidemic:

“I think we are slowly starting to see change taking place, (but) I think going to continue to see a rise in the death rate over the next couple of years at least — I predict up to four to five years even,” said Macomb County 41B District Court Judge Linda Davis, who founded of the Clinton Township drug recovery court and is president of Families Against Narcotics.

“We have thousands of people who are addicted to these opiate pain medications and/or heroin … and because of (the) lack of treatment and how insidious this disease (of addiction) is, there’s a large number of those people who are going to die unfortunately.”

Bouffard says opioid addiction has been tough for officials to tackle, but there is still a lot of desire to keep trying.

“You just can’t give up on people, because sometimes they do recover,” Bouffard tells Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson.

Henderson is also joined by Dr. Calvin Trent, vice president of programs for Detroit Recovery Project. He says many patients who are prescribed opiates to treat pain don’t receive treatment that helps them control their use of the drugs.

“Doctors should be more involved in the whole process of addiction,” and not just the initial treatment of pain, says Dr. Trent.

To hear from Trent and Bouffard on Detroit Today, click on the audio player above.




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