A meeting held in Michigan between DEA agents and representatives from the U.S Attorney’s Office from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia concluded that Michigan was the primary source of most of the prescription opiates and heroin sold in the surrounding states.
The representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s office reported that the drug problem affecting most of the States is centralized in the state of Michigan. Over 60 people have succumbed to Fentanyl and heroin overdoses between 2013 and 2014. Additionally, around the same period, the number of heroin overdoses doubled in the neighboring Oakland County. In a bid to combat this, the U.S. District Attorney for Michigan Eastern District, Barbara McQuade, the Heroin, Opioid Prevention and Enforcement (HOPE) project, which aims at arresting drug traffickers thereby removing these illegal substances from the streets.
Addiction to prescription pills and heroin is expensive both to the government and the users. The government spends heavily on supplying the hospitals with a number of prescription pills required. They also spend heavily in setting up rehabilitation centers to help in the treatment of those addicted to opiates and heroin. Users on the other hand also bear some direct and indirect financial costs. Examples of direct economic costs include the money they have to part with to buy the drugs on the streets. Indirect finance cost includes loss of productivity especially when they are high and unable to function maximally.
According to David Hickton, the U.S Attorney for Western District of Pennsylvania, the opiate and heroin crisis is both a law enforcement and public health emergency. As such, the only way to deal with this problem is by coming up with measures that will address the health and legal aspects of the problem. Hickton also observes that this problem cuts across all demographics in society meaning that the crisis affects both young and the old. Further, it has been noted that opiate and heroin addiction affects the poor, middle class and the affluent in society.
State leaders from Detroit are alive to the fact that the problem is worse in the state. With this in mind, the leaders held a summit on Tuesday afternoon to address the prescription opiates and heroin problem. The leaders hope that the resolutions made will help in curbing the abuse.
Some parents have also joined in the fight against opiate abuse. One such parent also doubles as the U.S. District Attorney for Michigan Eastern District, Ms. McQuade, who refused a prescription pain medication that had been prescribed for her teenage son who broke his ankle.
McQuade proposed that the heroin and opiate addiction problem could best be addressed by an intense response from the law enforcement agencies. She claimed the fact that most kids get introduced to opiates when they seek treatments for sports injuries, dental problems or other medical problem that requires a pain prescription. Some teenagers also find the prescription opiates in the homes in unlocked medicine cabinets. McQuade advises parents to be proactive in shielding their children from the far-reaching effects of using opiates.