New report released about Michigan’s opioid crisis

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FILE – This photo provided by the U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah and introduced as evidence in a 2019 trial shows fentanyl-laced fake oxycodone pills collected during an investigation. In a resumption of a brutal trend, nearly 71,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2019 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a new record high that predates the COVID-19 crisis. The numbers were driven by fentanyl and similar synthetic opioids, which accounted for 36,500 overdose deaths. (U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah via AP)

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)—A new report highlighting the opioid crisis in Michigan was released by The Michigan Opioids Task Force, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. 

The report highlights Michigan’s response to the opioid crisis, and its statewide programs to help those struggling with drug addictions. The 2020 annual report mentions kits handed out to people overcoming the crisis. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Michigan Opioid Project launched various statewide initiatives in 2020 to treat the epidemic and has plans to expand this year. 

The report outlines Michigan’s progress until 2025. 

“The Opioids Task Force has been working tirelessly to address the impacts of an opioid use disorder, which has devastated the lives of so many Michiganders and harmed millions nationwide,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “We will not rest until we dramatically reduce opioid use disorder and overdose deaths and work to provide those suffering from the support they need. I appreciate everything that the task force has accomplished, and their annual report shows the progress we made by putting in place programs to combat the opioid epidemic. We still have a lot of work to do, but I know that our state-level efforts are making a meaningful difference in people’s lives.”

 “As a practicing emergency department physician, I have seen first-hand the impact of opioid use disorders in our communities,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and MDHHS chief deputy director for health.“I am proud of the work of the task force that has continued to move forward even in the middle of a pandemic. The seven-pillar strategy adopted by the task force emphasizes prevention, treatment, and equity and will help save lives.”

During the last few years, Michigan saw a decline in the number of opioid-related overdoses. However, in 2020 there was an increase in drug overdose deaths in Michigan. The report suggests some of the reasons could be the COVID-19 pandemic decreased access to treatment services. 

“While we’ve made progress in holding drug companies accountable for their role in the opioid epidemic, there’s still more work to be done,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “My office remains dedicated to helping Michigan families overcome the damage done by this ongoing crisis and I affirm our commitment to this important task force.” 

 For more information and resources regarding Michigan’s opioid crisis visit Michigan.gov/Opioids

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