Community comes together to fight addiction

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HOWELL, MI (WLNS) – In Howell Monday community members worked to fight addiction with a small device that packs a mean punch.

More police officers will soon be equipped with it.

Drug abuse is often stigmatized, preventing people from getting the help they need.

Mitchell is one of those people.

He was a 23-year-old about to enroll at the University of Michigan and he had a bright future.

“The funniest, most intelligent, loving person,” said Michele Wagner, Mitchell’s mother.

But Mitchell was a Heroin addict, on the road to recovery.

He was clean for 100 days before a fatal overdose in a Walmart bathroom.

And his mother, Michele Wagner blames herself.

“I felt like I killed my son.”

This could have been prevented by a drug called Naloxone.

“It will go to the brain and kick out the opioids and put the patient into withdrawal and get them breathing again,” said Dr. Carl Christensen, clinical associate professor, Wayne State University.

In Livingston County Monday Dr. Carl Christensen trained people so they can be part of the solution to what he says is a growing problem.

“Heroin is now laced with Fentanyl, and Fentanyl is a synthetic drug that is much more potent than Heroin and much more likely to cause an overdose.”

This auto injector has a computer which gives set by step instructions. And when running against the clock, this tiny device can mean the difference between life and death.

Starting Tuesday the device will be in the patrol car for two Fowlerville police officers.

“It’ll take waiting for paramedics out of it and we might be able to apply it or help if we’re there first on scene,” said a Fowlerville police officer.

The event Monday was also about changing the conversation to educate people about addiction. Something Michele Wagner had in mind just over a year ago when she founded Mitchell’s Hope.

“Ya know, instead of clean and sober, person and recovery because the opposite of clean is what – dirty,” said Michele Wagner, Mitchell’s mother and Mitchell’s Hope CEO and president.

Wagner says she’s constantly trying to help those she can as her last promise to the one she could not.

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