Raising awareness of opioid dangers

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – As drug-related deaths and over-doses continue to rise a local group of law students is hoping to raise awareness on the issue.

Today members of the law fraternity Delta Theta Phi at Western Michigan’s Cooley Law School brought in a local father of five who suffered a very personal loss related to this epidemic.

Mid-Michigan is no stranger to opioid related deaths.

According to health officials so far this year there have been 43 just in Ingham County alone.

And that number is only growing.

Officials say that the number of opioid related deaths in Ingham County has quadrupuled within the last few years, adding up to more than one death a week.

“It’s going to take more than just a health officer trying to do things or trying to talk about it, it’s going to take more than law enforcement and dealing with the law enforcement end of things. It’s going to take more than health care systems and and substance abuse systems coming in to do treatment,” said Ingham County Health Department director Linda Vail. “Really it’s going to take a broad community effort in order to address the issue.”

And that’s just what students at Cooley Law School are trying to do.

Today they heard how opioids can affect a family first hand.

The group brought in Phil Pavona, an Okemos father who lost his son to heroin just five years ago.

Pavona works with Ingham County’s “Families Against Narcotics”.

During his speech, he touched on how years ago, raising a family in Okemos, he never thought to talk to his kids about prescription drugs.

But now, instead of thinking his son’s death was senseless, it has brought meaning to his family.

This coming Saturday Michigan State Police will be taking part in National Prescription Drug Take-back Day.

You can find a full list of places to drop off your unused or unwanted prescription medication here.

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