Kristy Kopec told us that though she didn't know it at the time, but "it was all over with" the first time she took opiates.
flickr user frankileon /

Michigan has a fierce fight on its hands. A fight to keep people out of the clutches of opioid and heroin addiction. 

A vial of prescription drugs

“I remember looking at some of the early federal reports involving opioid pain killers and overdose deaths and they had increased so rapidly, when I was looking at the data I was convinced someone had put a decimal point in the wrong place,” Dr. Andrew Kolodny said.

Kolodny is a senior scientist at Brandeis University and executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing. He spent time working in addiction medicine in New York City during the early 2000s.

“The sharp increase was very real and what we would ultimately come to recognize is that we were at the beginning of a new, very severe epidemic,” Kolodny said.

A Michigan State University researcher is looking at whether home Wi-Fi systems can be used to help the elderly while protecting their privacy.

The families of many at-risk seniors rely on online cameras, wearable devices or sensors to make sure they haven’t fallen or suffered a medical problem.    

But at a cost of their privacy.

Mi Zhang is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in the MSU College of Engineering, He’s received a grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a home Wi-Fi signal into a near range radar.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This may be a dry Labor Day for some Flint residents.

The city’s nine water distribution centers will be closed on Monday. They’ll also be closed on Sunday as usual.

Mission Flint spokeswoman Tiffany Brown says the decision to close on Labor Day was based on low demand on the last two holidays.  She says demand was a third of normal on Memorial day and the Fourth of July.


Michigan wants college students to go back to school with more than just textbooks.

State health officials are urging college students to make sure they are up to date on vaccinations. 

The recommendation for vaccines comes after a meningitis death of a college student in Macomb County earlier this year.

"Much of what we do in public health is providing the information and the tools by which our college campuses can keep their students healthy," says Dr. Eden Wells, Michigan's chief medical executive. 

Stateside 8.30.2016

Aug 30, 2016


Today, could dental therapy improve access to care in Michigan? We hear both sides of the argument. And, we learn the results of the 2016 state standardized test, M-STEP. 

Courtesy of the Michigan Dental Association

There’s been growing awareness that dental health isn’t just about appearance and avoiding cavities. It’s also essential to overall health.

For instance, poor oral health has been tied to cardiovascular disease, respiratory infections like pneumonia, diabetic complications and dementia.

This means it’s crucial to bring dental care to areas and populations that are underserved by dentists.

Some think Senate Bill 1013 could be the way to do that in Michigan.

The bill was introduced earlier this summer by Sen. Mike Shirkey (R-Clark Lake). It’s modeled after a program in Minnesota that set up a midlevel dental professional called a dental therapist.

Dr. Nia Heard-Garris sits down with Cynthia Canty for an interview on Stateside.
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Whenever there's a story of violence that takes over the news cycle, parents face a challenge: How much do you tell your child? How do you answer your child's questions? Do you wade right into what happened and why? Or do you divert them, and try to give them something different to think about?

For parents of color, these challenges come up with each act of police-related violence on black males, or violence aimed at police officers who are just doing their jobs, such as in Dallas or Baton Rouge.

Dr. Nia Heard-Garris is a pediatrician doing research on the impact racism, and these racially-charged news stories, can have on children.

flickr user zeevveez /

The time is getting closer for launching special tax-free savings accounts for Michiganders with disabilities.

It's called MI-ABLE, the Achieving a Better Life Experience program. 

MI-ABLE was signed into law in Michigan late last year. Now, word has come that the state has firmed up a contract with a Florida-based company to manage this savings program.

Studying identical twins could unlock some of our medical mysteries
DVIDSHUB / Flickr -

Twins: They look alike, many of them sound and act alike. They could also hold the power to help the medical world unlock some of its biggest mysteries.

surgical instrument tray
wikimedia / creative commons

Michigan's Bureau of Community and Health Systems has launched an investigation into dirty, broken, and missing instruments at Detroit Medical Center hospitals.

The investigation was prompted by a report in the Detroit News showing a pattern of improper cleaning and sterilization at DMC facilities,  putting patients at risk for over eleven years.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The city’s water crisis has given many people in Flint sleepless nights.

Last night, the man who helped reveal the problem spent a sleepless night seeing if things are getting better. 

In the wee small hours of the morning, Virginia Tech water expert Marc Edwards took and tested water samples at the Flint home of Lee Anne Walters. It was in Walters’ home that the extent of the city’s water crisis was first confirmed.

Edwards tested the water hourly to see how chlorine and bacteria levels changed during the hours when water generally flows slower through the system.

Stateside 8.25.2016

Aug 25, 2016


Today, we hear about possible upsides to the Flint water crisis. And, we learn how dirty surgical instruments could be endangering patients at the Detroit Medical Center.

Courtesy of Predrag Klasnja /

The Next Idea

In the 1970’s, the Japanese concept of “Kanban” turned the U.S. auto industry on its ear – “just in time” inventory and manufacturing.

Now, that just-in-time concept is being applied to keep people on track after rehabilitation.

Just-in-time adaptive interventions (JITAI) can bring health support to you right through a smartphone.

A repeatedly sewage-flooded basement on Detroit's east side.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Two recent cases of Hepatitis A in Detroit are sparking a larger public health response.

That’s because the people who tested positive for the virus had both recently dealt with basement sewage backups, which have plagued an area of Detroit’s east side during rainfall this summer.

It’s not entirely clear how they got Hepatitis A, but contact with sewage is a known path of transmission.

But just in case, the Detroit health department will offer the vaccinations for free or at low cost to all Detroiters affected by the recent flooding over the next week.

Flickr user Stanford EdTech/Flickr /

In 2010, now Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan was the CEO of the Detroit Medical Center. One decision he made was to streamline the process of sterilizing medical instruments.

The result: A sole Central Sterile Processing Department in the basement of Detroit Receiving Hospital.

That department is responsible for cleaning and sterilizing instruments for all five DMC hospitals in Midtown Detroit. That includes Children’s, Detroit Receiving, Harper, Hutzel Women’s and the DMC Heart Hospital.

This means workers must clean and sterilize thousands and thousands of instruments then package them for surgical procedures.

An investigation by Detroit News reporters Karen Bouffard and Joel Kurth revealed that DMC surgeries are now plagued by dirty or missing instruments and equipment.

Photo of Gov. Rick Snyder
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Genesee County health officials insist a court order restricting communication with state health officials is not preventing them from investigating cases of Legionnaires Disease.

The court order is related to the Attorney General’s investigation of the Flint water crisis. 

The Snyder administration is challenging the order.

Buddy-to-Buddy sends volunteer veterans to help other veterans or servicemembers
Public Domain /

Who can understand the problems, fears and worries of veterans and military service members better than someone who has served?

That's the idea behind Buddy-to-Buddy. It's the only program of its kind in Michigan, focused on peer support. Veterans who can help other vets and service members. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

One of the most vivid images of the Flint water crisis was the photograph of the then-two-year-old Sincere Smith. His little face, covered with a rash, was the cover of Time Magazine.

His mother insisted the rash broke out when the water changed to the Flint River, and that it got better once the family moved out of Flint.

The state of Michigan and the federal government have spent the past six months trying to figure out why so many people in Flint, like Sincere, have reported rashes and hair loss.

That report came out today.

Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody joined Stateside to discuss its findings.

A federal report says improperly treated Flint River water was a “plausible” cause of skin rashes suffered by city residents.

People in Flint have been blaming painful itchy rashes on the city’s tap water. Many pinpoint the development of their skin irritation to the city’s switch to the Flint River as its tap water source. Now a panel of experts for the most part agrees.

Dr. Daniel Maixner says depictions of electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), like this one in the TV show "Homeland," have harmed the public's perceptions of the treatment. Dr. Maixner calls ECT a "miracle."
Image from the program "Homeland" / Showtime

In the latest edition of Stateside's series Minding Michigan, which explores mental health issues in our state, we take a closer look at electro-convulsive therapy (ECT). 

ECT is largely known as "electroshock therapy," but many in the field consider that to be an outdated term. ECT is a mental health treatment that can be effective for some patients with certain disorders. However, largely because of the way its been portrayed in film or television, ECT is wrapped in stigma and misconception. The University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry has just opened a new mental health unit that expands its ability to offer electro-convulsive therapy to patients.

Wikimedia user Gyre /

A new study finds reducing air pollution by just a little more would save about 9,000 lives each year in the United States.

Detroit is one of the cities the study finds could benefit the most from slightly tighter air pollution regulations. 

Flickr user Andre Charland/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Get to work, grab a cup of coffee, turn on the computer … and sit down to start the business of the day.

And there you stay: sitting and sitting and sitting. Sound familiar?

For those of us with desk jobs, that’s pretty much the drill.

But more and more medical researchers warn us that all that sitting is wreaking havoc on our bodies. Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic has even declared that “sitting is the new smoking.”

Reid McClellan, Digital Media Producer at United Shore

So many people spend their days sitting – and sitting a lot.

People who work desk jobs might spend a minimum of eight hours a day sitting hunched over a desk. I’m doing it now as I write.

Experts like Rebecca Hasson, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan Schools of Kinesiology and Public Health, say this much sitting could increase risk of cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes, and even cancer.

So, some companies are taking strides to keep employees moving throughout the day. Some have gyms onsite. Some hand out Fitbits.

And then there’s United Shore, a wholesale mortgage company in Troy. Employees there take a 15-minute dance break every Thursday at three.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Surgeon General says a long-awaited federal study of skin rashes in Flint should be released “very soon”.

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy was in Flint today meeting with local doctors and government officials.

He says they discussed many issues related to Flint’s lead-tainted tap water.

But one issue that remains a major source of controversy and pain is skin rashes.

People in Flint have been complaining about itchy skin rashes for several years.  


It happens every summer.  The rate of young children showing elevated blood lead levels goes up.  

That's in large part because kids spend more time in their houses, rather than at preschool and kindergarten.  They also spend more time outdoors where they can be exposed to sources of lead such as paint dust and soil.

But this year, in some cities and counties in Michigan, the spike was greater than usual.

Michigan State University hopes a new ban on using tobacco products on campus will lead to an overall reduction in tobacco use.
Sudipto Sarkar / Flickr -

If you want to smoke, chew or vape in East Lansing, you'll have to make sure to step off the Michigan State University campus first. 

A new policy taking effect today bans all tobacco use on MSU's campus. The University of Michigan passed a similar ban in 2011, meaning the state's two largest public universities now both prohibit tobacco use anywhere on their grounds. 

A Grand Rapids therapist is using virtual reality technology to help his patients confront traumatic environments.
Flickr user UTKnightCenter / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0


"Minding Michigan" is Stateside's ongoing series that examines mental health issues in our state. 

Virtual reality doesn’t immediately pop into mind when you think about psychotherapy, but one therapist is using this burgeoning technology to treat his patients.

Tom Overly is using multi-sensory virtual reality technology to help patients confront their fears and anxieties. He’s the owner of VR Therapy and Counseling Center in Grand Rapids.

Update: 11:37 a.m., August 15

Michigan State Housing Development Authority Executive Director Kevin Elsenheimer issued the following press release over the weekend related to broken elevators at Towne Centre Place in Ypsilanti: 

Flickr user Chealion/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

For the first time, researchers show how much patients with private insurance actually pay for hospital stays. Out-of-pocket costs are high and rising fast for many plans, even those considered “good” insurance.

Emily Adrion is a research fellow at the University of Michigan medical school. She and her team looked at the rising out-of-pocket costs for people with private insurance.

Costs are rising in two main areas: deductibles and co-insurance.

To begin with deductibles, Adrion said they rose by around 86% between 2009 and 2013.