Legislation introduced to combat opioid epidemic in Michigan

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – “We want to have more second chances and less funerals,” said Lt. Governor Brian Calley.

Defeating opioid addiction is something Lt. Governor Calley feels strongly about and Governor Rick Snyder feels the same.

“Far too many lives have been either lost, damaged, injured in some fashion because of these drugs and we need to do more in our state,” Governor Snyder stated.

Snyder says in 2007, 180-million opioid doses were prescribed and that number skyrocketed to 690-million last year.

“In 9 years, things shouldn’t have changed to that level,” Snyder said.

To fight this epidemic, a new strategy was introduced called the Michigan Automated Prescription System which will go into effect next month.

“What this does is it will give doctors real time information about the prescription history of the person that they’re dealing with,” said Calley.

Meaning doctors need to properly educate patients before prescribing medication…something Grass Lake local Mike Hirst stands behind as he lost his son to a drug overdose years ago.

“Our son Andy was a great kid, funny kid…loved sports…how does that kid end up dead from a drug overdose at 24?” Hirst pondered.

Hirst says the root of this problem comes down to being informed and recognizing the signs.

“To say you’re a heroin addict versus a narco addict is like saying I’m only addicted to beer not vodka…the brain knows no difference,” Hirst added.

Which is why Governor Snyder, Calley and bipartisan lawmakers are hoping this system will overcome the opioid epidemic in the state.

“We’re not going to give up…we’re going to win this one,” said Snyder.

After the governor’s news conference, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette released a statement offering his approval saying in part…

“We can’t arrest our way out of this problem. The bipartisan package of legislation announced today is an important step in Michigan’s overall effort to curb this growing epidemic.”

To check out what’s involved with this new legislation, head to the Seen on 6 tab on our website.

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