drug abuse

Under the ANGEL Program, Escanaba law enforcement invites drug addicts to come to the police station voluntarily to receive help overcoming their addiction.
flickr user frankileon / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Some cities have been looking at a program that takes a different approach to people with addictions who sometimes have run-ins with the law.

In Michigan, Escanaba is trying the new approach. It's called the ANGEL Program.

Escanaba City Manager Jim O'Toole​ joined us to talk about it.

syringe
mconnors / MorgueFile

A State House bill could require all paramedics and first responders in the state to be trained to handle a drug overdose. 

Rep. Hank Vaupel, R-Handy Township, is lead sponsor on the bill. He said the bill should ensure health professionals on a scene are up to date on overdose treatments – similar to how they are already required to re-certify their skills in CPR. 

Vaupel said his bill is in no way a slight to first responders, who he said are already doing an excellent job. But the bill could help save even more lives.

Andre Johnson, President and CEO of Detroit Recovery Project.
Recovery4Detroit.com

The White House will recognize a Detroit man for his role in establishing a drug recovery program. Andre Johnson is the President and CEO of the Detroit Recovery Project and will be recognized by President Obama as one of 10 “Champions of Change.”

Listen to the full interview below.

Tom Varco / Wikimedia commons

The Michigan State Police are teaming up with the Drug Enforcement Administration this Saturday for National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

There will be 29 locations across the state where anyone can drop off their expired or unwanted pills. Drop-offs are free and anonymous. 

"Take-Back" is part of a national effort to reduce prescription drug abuse. Deaths and overdoses from prescription pills have been on the rise in recent years, and the epidemic is also connected with increased heroin use. 

Bay County plans another public forum on heroin epidemic

Apr 10, 2016
Narconon

BANGOR TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Bay County is planning another public forum as part of an ongoing effort to deal with a heroin epidemic as declared by the health department and law enforcement officials in June.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Drug overdose deaths rose 14% between 2013 and 2014, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

MDHHS Public Information Officer Jennifer Eisner says a state task force is looking at ways to prevent the problem, as well as increase access to treatment.

"We are looking at ways to reduce doctor shopping and pharmacy shopping," says Eisner, "as well as how to expand access to access to Naloxone (a drug used to treat addicts), increasing access to care and increasing the number of addiction specialists that there are in the state."

Pills and tablets
e-Magine Art / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A new report from the Trust for America's Health says drug overdose deaths among juveniles in Michigan tripled within a decade.

According to the report, the rate of overdose deaths in Michigan between 1999 and 2001 was 2.1 percent for every 100,000 people between 12 and 25-years-old.

www.retreat-lc.com

The latest designer drugs are just a few mouse clicks away, easily ordered from Chinese websites.

Powerful synthetic drugs like bath salts and Flakka are making their way into the country.

Victor Fitz, president of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan, explains that designer drugs are created in response to the country’s stringent drug laws.

Carolyn Gearig / Michigan Radio

In 2013, Michigan’s drug-related death rate was 18.5 deaths per 100,000 people*, higher than most other states in the country. The U.S. average was 14.6.

user hipsxxhearts / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

UPDATED 6/8/2015

Abuse of stimulant drugs  usually prescribed for ADHD are typically associated with stressed-out college students. But a new study from the University of Michigan Medical School shows that abuse of those drugs typically starts much earlier, in the teen years, with a peak age range of 16 to 18 years for starting to misuse the drugs. 

Oakland Country police cars.
Oakland County Sheriff's Office / Facebook

In counties all across the state, county sheriff's deputies are using a nasal spray to help counteract the effects of opiates.

A nasal spray containing the drug Narcan or naloxone can reverse the effects of a opiate drug overdose.

This week, it saved a 37-year-old man in Macomb County.

Lt. John Michalke of the Macomb County Sheriff’s Department said 81 of his deputies were taught how to administer the drug in early May. On Tuesday, one of them was able to use it to save a man.

Like most people who grew up in the sixties and seventies, I knew a lot of people who tried a lot of drugs. Marijuana of course, but also LSD, psilocybin, peyote, later cocaine.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Adults surveyed for a new poll rank childhood obesity as the top health concern for kids. 

More than two thousand adults were surveyed for the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

Director Matt Davis says obesity, smoking and drug abuse top the list of health concerns adults have about children.

Heroin abuse in Michigan is on the rise.
United Nations Photo

How many of our teens actually smoke, drink, and take drugs? And what kinds of drugs and tobacco products are they using?

That's what the University of Michigan and the National Institute on Drug Abuse seek to learn in their annual surveys of 40,000 to 50,000 teens in grades 8, 10, and 12.

The latest Monitoring The Future survey was released today.

Lloyd Johnston, the principal investigator for the project, joined us today. He’s with the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

In This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rina Miller and political analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss bills in Lansing to penalize poor people who use drugs, a delay in the decision over gay marriage, and the sentencing of Bernard Kilpatrick.

The Michigan Senate yesterday overwhelmingly approved a bill to cut off unemployment benefits for anyone who fails or refuses a drug test. The House passed a slightly different version earlier, and within a few days the governor will be signing this into law.

This will make a lot of lawmakers, most of them Republicans, feel very righteous. They will have cut off funds to a group of desperate and poor people who apparently have substance abuse problems. I wonder what these folks will do then?

Morgue File

The number of Michigan deaths from drug overdose has tripled since 1999. The majority of these deaths were caused by prescription drugs.

Michigan has the 18th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the country, according to a national report on Prescription Drug Abuse by the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) in Washington, D.C. 

Eight people have overdosed from heroin over the past two days in Washtenaw County, according to the health department and the sheriff's office. One person died in Saline, and seven others were hospitalized.

Sergeant Geoff Fox of the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office says heroin use in Michigan is increasing.

user publik15 / Flickr

We've been following a bill that's now working its way through the State Legislature.

The House has already said "yes" and passed it. Now it's on to the Senate.

In short: the legislation would require people getting welfare to pass a drug test in order to receive benefits.

The substance abuse screening would be required if there's "reasonable suspicion" that the person is using illegal drugs.

Representative Jeff Farrington (R-Utica) sponsored the bill in the House saying the government should not pay for people's drug habits.

"People are tired of applicants getting welfare payments when they're using them for illegal drug use," said Farrington. "We want to make sure that they get on the right track, they receive their treatment going forward and they get on the right path to success."

Supporters of the bill say only people who test positive would have to pay for the cost of the drug test.

Critics say suspicion-based drug testing demonizes the poor and unfairly hurts children of addicts.

Melissa Smith is a senior policy analyst with the Michigan League for Human Services. She researched the effectiveness of these welfare drug testing programs and she joins us now from Lansing.

She analyzed how "suspicion-based drug testing" is working in other states and shares what she found with us.

What she found?

A lot of money is wasted on these programs and not a lot is accomplished.

Listen to the full-interview above.

user PabloEvans / Flickr

This week, police in Grand Rapids began a pilot program to treat marijuana possession as a civil infraction. This comes six months after voters approved an amendment to decriminalize pot.

In Michigan, if you've got an aching back or live in Grand Rapids or Ann Arbor, there’s less reason to feel like marijuana will get you into trouble.

For better or worse, pot is gaining acceptance. Our state is one of 20 in the U.S. where marijuana is either OK for medical use or decriminalized. In Washington state and Colorado, recreational use is legal. Increasingly, there are American communities like Grand Rapids where voters don’t want to spend time and money prosecuting offenders caught with a bag of weed.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A pair of bills that would revoke welfare benefits from some Michigan families has cleared the state House. The legislation has support on both sides of the aisle.

One bill would let the state cut cash assistance payments to families with kids who persistently miss school.

The state Department of Human Services is already doing this – the bill would make the policy state law.

Many Republicans and Democrats say it’s a good way to promote school attendance in poor areas.

But Democratic Representative Jeff Irwin is worried some abusive parents might be keeping their kids out of school to avoid getting turned in to the authorities.