Heroin and opioid abuse have left a path of destruction in Mid-Michigan, and tonight 6-News brought together a panel of health experts, lawmakers, and law enforcement and court officials to talk about what can be done to stop it.
Throughout the month of May, we’ve been running a series of reports highlighting the opioid crisis in our community. Tonight, members of the public had the chance to weigh in during a special town hall meeting in Jackson.
“As they’re withdrawing from that medication, they literally are getting signals that they are going to die if they don’t get it,” says Ingham County Health Officer, Linda Vail.
For some, addiction may be a hard topic to talk about, especially when it involves heroin and prescription drugs. But this is an issue that can impact anyone, and starting the conversation with a family member or friend, is the first step in changing that.
“A couple thousand people died last year of heroin overdoses and it’s creating chaos in our communities and with our families the heartache and the tragic loss, it’s just something we have to get ahead,” says Lt. Governor Brian Calley.
“I never saw myself going down this road but I did, and there’s numerous other people who never saw themselves going down this road and they do,” says former addict, Kalen Coffelt.
Community members had the chance to hear from federal and state lawmakers, local law enforcement, and even those who feel comfortable sharing their personal struggles with addiction.
“What it became for me was far greater than I ever intended it to be, I never woke up and said today im going to become a heroin addict,” says Coffelt.
Kalen’s message about his experience was heard loud and clear by those in the audience and on the panel. But tonight’s town hall also provided a chance for people to express their concerns and ask questions of those dealing with this crisis first hand.
The full meeting will run on the air as a commercial free special next Thursday, May 18th at 7pm.