Heroin overdoses continue at high rate


JACKSON, MI (WLNS) – Since 1999, heroin deaths in Michigan have increased by nearly 400 percent. In order to try and and curb the problem, Michigan Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI, 7th District) sponsored 18 bills.

Walberg said, “That begins with each district de-stigmatizing the issue of addiction from simply saying it’s a criminality issue to a victim issue. These are people in many cases we’re finding out now who have been caught either through using pain killers or opioids and have now become addicted and find that heroin is the only alternative that meets the need and they are able to afford it.”

These problems caught the eyes of lawmakers and law enforcement alike as they try to find ways to curb heroin usage. It may come down to education.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jerry Jarzynka said, “Part of that approach is to ask the community to get involved and to take a community wide approach to attack the heroin issue, which is our number one issue in Jackson County.”

On average, emergency crews at Henry Ford Allegiance Health in Jackson are seeing four or five overdoses per week.

“We’ve been working with first responders and law enforcement to give them Narcan to administer that on scene which gives the patient a better chance of survival,” said Gillian Jobson, critical care director, Henry Ford Allegiance Health.

The thoughts echoed by legislators, law enforcement, and health professionals is that more education is needed to curb drug use.

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