JACKSON, MI (WLNS) – In some cases, a growing trend is a good thing, but in Jackson County, officials said a growing trend of drug overdoses is creating a big problem and it’s getting worse.
Just last night, police in Jackson say two men had to be taken to the hospital after officers found them overdosed on heroin.
One on the men, is a 20 year-old and he was found in the 200 block of North Cooper Street, while the other man, a 37 year-old, was found on the 100 block of Fourth Street.
Police say both men are okay but now face charges of possessing heroin.
“Everybody is using it, it’s not one particular group, or race, or color, or socioeconomic group,” Jackson County Sheriff, Steven Rand said.
Heroin. It’s a six letter word with a countless number of consequences. It’s addictive, readily available, and sometimes deadly, and these days in Jackson, more people seem to be getting their hands on it.
“It is the leading drug out there,” Sheriff Rand said. “There’s crack cocaine and methamphetamine. As bad as they aren’t the concern so much anymore, we really, really have to get this problem under control.”
Since 2012, the number of controlled substance related dispatches fluctuates, however the number of overdose dispatches climbs every year.
“The numbers year to date for yesterday is within a few numbers of where we were for the entire year of 2015, which is not the direction we’d like to go because obviously we still have a third of the year to go,” Sheriff Rand said.
From the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office:
Overdose Dispatches Controlled Substance Related Dispatches
2012- 67 840
2013- 83 836
2014- 92 820
2015- 132 855
2016- (Thru 9/24) 126 661
*Source Jackson County 911 CAD records
According to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, this year alone, 29 people, who used illicit drugs, died of overdoses.
REPORTER: Would you say the epidemic is the highest it’s ever been?
SHERIFF RAND: “Most certainly. We’ve never seen numbers like this. I’ve been here for coming up on 24 years and never seen anything like this.”
Just because the numbers are growing, doesn’t mean the issue is being ignored.
The drug epidemic is so problematic, states across the U.S., including Michigan, seeing significant increases in drug related deaths, have come together for a summit in Ohio to brainstorm ways to combat the issue.
“I have seen in the last five years significant increases in opiates and heroin use,” Melissa Tinervia said.
She’s the program director for Born Free, a treatment center in Jackson, geared towards women. Tinervia said every year; they help more than 100 of them, including mothers.
“I think that a lot of treatment starts when we change the conversation in the community from addiction is bad and the person is bad, to addiction is a disease.”
On Saturday, August 27th, the Jackson Recovery Resource Center will be hosting a walk and rally as part of its second annual “Recovery Out Loud” event.
The walk is free and open to all people who want to join in the effort to increase awareness about recovery.
Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the walk starts at 10 a.m. at 407 West Michigan Avenue in Jackson.