LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – What steps will our state take to overcome heroin addiction?
That’s the question we consistently ask ourselves and the problem doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
And according to the Ingham County Health Department…combatting the problem involves all hands on deck.
In 2014, nearly 33,000 people died from opioid related deaths including heroin and according to Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail, that number is approaching 50,000 today.
“That’s pretty significant…we’re seeing more deaths from heroin overdoses, opioid related prescription drug overdoses than we see from gun violence’s than from traffic fatalities,” said Vail.
It’s that reason Vail says Mid-Michigan needs to continue figuring out how to stop addiction from spreading.
“We are improving our prescription drug monitoring system, drug disposal systems, looking at police assisted recovery, drug treatment or specialty courts or sobriety courts that’s another avenue,” Vail stated.
Adam Hussain is the Chair of the Committee on Public Safety for the city of Lansing and he says when he heard the numbers of heroin related deaths he was concerned.
“We’ve done a number of things again on the local, state and federal level to try and combat this and to learn that it just keeps chugging along and really gaining steam is quite scary,” said Hussain.
But Hussain says that’s more of a reason to continue the push of bringing awareness to the issue.
“Even if it is just the education piece we’re going to continue to have Linda in, we’ll continue to have Chief Yankowski with the police department in to discuss some of those things that we’re doing at the local, the county, the state level,” Hussain added.
The question now is where do we go from here?
Vail says it’s going to take a team of medical professionals, community organizations, law enforcement officials and even parental support to tackle this problem head on.