Prescription painkiller and heroin abuse have claimed many lives. Over the past decade, the United States has seen overdose death rates at epidemic levels. State governments have been trying new ways to curb the abuse. In the state of Michigan, they are trying their best to slow down the abuse and try new ways of dealing with the issue. Governor Rich Snyder’s administration is reaching out to communities by planning a hearing to receive input on how they should go about fighting the opiate epidemic. Going into the communities and asking those who are on the front lines is an outstanding way to get constructive input. Learning from the people who have lived the life or who have had tragedy because of these addictions will bring fresh and helpful tips to the Capitol Building.
The hearing was held today in the state Capitol Building and led by the Michigan Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Task Force. The task force was created last month by Governor Snyder and put Lt. Governor Brian Calley in the lead chair. "We are eager to hear the ideas and thoughts of our state's concerned residents in order to develop a more effective strategy to address this critical issue," Calley said in a statement last week.
To address the opiate epidemic, the state will need funds. The state budget has allocated $1.5 million towards the prescription drug and painkiller abuse epidemic. "Prescription drug and opioid addiction has quadrupled the number of unintentional drug deaths in our state since 1999," Calley said when the task force was launched in June. "We must come together to reverse this trend before more Michiganders are hurt."
Serving on the task force is a great responsibility to the state and its citizens. You need people who are well educated on the issue and who are motivated to take this issue head on. State Attorney General Bill Schuette, Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, Licensing and Regulation Department Director Mike Zimmer and State Police Director Kriste Kibbey Etue will also be serving on the opiate task force. The task force has a total of 21 members including Detroit Police Chief James Craig, other law enforcement, state legislators and health officials.
"The damaging effects of drugs like opioids are hurting our families and communities," Schuette said in a statement. "We must work together to help end this growing epidemic before it hurts public safety and our economic recovery."
Seeing states take initiative to protect and educate its citizens is outstanding. Along with education and making people aware of the numbers and facts attributed with addiction and abuse of opiates, Governor Snyder signed legislation requiring emergency medical responders to receive training to administer Naloxone. Naloxone is an antidote that reverses opiate overdoses. According to the federal government, southeastern Michigan’s populous Wayne and Washtenaw counties have had 60 overdose deaths. The time is now to teach and be as proactive as possible to change and save as lives.