JACKSON, MI (WLNS) – It’s well documented that heroin and opioid use is a big problem in Jackson County. Earlier this year, Congressman Tim Walberg received bipartisan support on 18 bills attacking the heroin epidemic.
But, while those are working their way through Washington, you might be asking, what can be people do who are addicted and want to quit right now?
Because of the heroin problems in Jackson, people are gathering outside of Henry Ford Allegiance Health right now to remember friends and family who have died because of drug overdoses.
Jackson Recovery Resource Center Program Manager Shannon Jackson said, “there is definitely an epidemic nationwide. Jackson is part of the epidemic. It’s hitting every household. Well, I wouldn’t say every household, but it’s touching almost everyone in some way.”
The Jackson Recovery Resource Center receives 30 – 50 referrals per month. It’s one option for people to recover from the addiction. But, people from addicts to doctors believe it’s not enough.
Heroin Vigil Leader Vivian Curl-Tornga said, “my family doctor noticed I lost a lot of weight and he got me in to Washington Way right away. Now people have to wait to get into Washington Way. I got into Washington Way within 24 hours when I got in, in 2002. That’s not available now.”
Tornga used to have an addiction to painkillers. Sober now for 14 years, she believes a detox center in Jackson would save lives.
You have to go to “Detroit if you want help sooner than two weeks. You know a lot of that is cost imperative and people can’t afford to get transportation to get there. We need it here in Jackson,” said Tornga.
It’s putting a strain on certain parts of the hospital.
Henry Ford Allegiance Health Medical Director Dr. Rami Khoury said, “A fair number of opioid overdoses. We tend to see more on the weekends. I worked over Memorial weekend and I know at any one point we had a couple during the day, each day I worked. Now, that’s a big number. One day I had two at the same time.”
Doctor Khoury believes Jackson is making progress, but could use some more help.