Livingston County Hopes To Solve Heroin Issue - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Livingston County Hopes To Solve Heroin Issue

From prescription medication to binge drinking and heroin, Livingston county has had a tough battle with drugs over the past decade.

Our Nick Perreault sat in on a town hall meeting that brought the issue to surface in hopes of finding a solution to startling statistics.

It doesn't matter your age, race or gender, addiction can grab anyone at anytime, making it hard for some to break the habit.

"We have seen about a 30 to 40 percent increase in prescription drug abuse and heroin use," said Director Marci Scalera Substance Abuse Coordinating Agency

"Once your addicted you're dependant and we know that your body needs that to feel normal," Scalera said.

Marci Scalera says since the price of prescription drugs out here on the streets is becoming more and more expensive, most addicts are switching to heroin.

"It's much cheaper to buy heroin, so that's why we see a lot of folks converting to heroin and we're seeing that influx rise," Scalera said.

So to get ahead of the problem, health professionals are talking about prevention and treatment in schools, neighborhoods and the community.

"When we first started there were only two barrels," said Livingston County Substance Abuse Coordinator Kaitlin Fink.

Red barrels placed from time to time along streets and police stations to collect unwanted prescription drugs.

Since the start in 2011 they've collected over 930 pounds, roughly the weight of an adult alligator.

Coordinators say the effort is taking a major bite out of the problem.

"If it's easy access for kids, they'll be more apt to do it, but if they can't find it they'll be less apt to do it," Fink said.

And health experts hope more discussion and more community awareness will help

convince others to throw away their addiction instead of their life.

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Marci Scalera says that's throughout Livingston, Lenawee and Washtenaw counties for the past five years, but in the last month alone Washtenaw county has seen eight overdoses including two deaths.

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