WUOMFM

drug overdose

Syringe
VCU CNS / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state wants more people in Michigan to have access to a drug that can save the life of someone who's overdosed on heroin or prescription painkillers.

A new state standing order pre-authorizes pharmacists to distribute naloxone, also known as Narcan, to anyone without a prescription. 

"It could be someone at risk for having an overdose or a friend, a loved one, a partner of someone who is concerned about a person at risk for an overdose," said Dr. Eden Wells, the state's chief medical officer.

kenny Mcdonald / Flicker https://flic.kr/p/8HGMDv

Officials from the Kent County Sheriff’s Department say they believe they’ve encountered heroin laced with carfentanil in three separate cases this month.

Carfentanil is 10,000 times more potent than morphine. It’s commonly used to tranquilize large animals. The drug caused a spike in overdose deaths this summer in Ohio.

“It’s extremely dangerous. You don’t want to touch it. If you touched it, it would get in your blood stream and it could ultimately kill you,” Kent County Sheriff’s Captain David Kok said.

Looking down on a hand holding an open bottle of prescription drugs.
Sharyn Morrow / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

People need to be able to report drug overdoses, without being afraid of facing drug possession charges themselves.

That's why lawmakers in Lansing are set to expand the current "Good Samaritan" law this week.

Right now, the law only covers people under 21 -- and even then, only if they're reporting an overdose from prescription drugs.

Those initial protections were a response to the death of a teenager in Southwest Michigan last year, who died of an overdose at a New Year’s Eve party.

PAULA FRIEDRICH / Michigan Radio

Librarians are finding themselves face to face with the heroin and opioid epidemic as drug users take advantage of free access to quiet areas where people often keep to themselves.

The library director in Ann Arbor, Michigan, says the open-access environment can make public libraries susceptible to misuse.

In the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, a man fatally overdosed in a locked library restroom in April. Officials say his body might have been there for days, overlooked by a now-fired security contractor.

Looking down on a hand holding an open bottle of prescription drugs.
Sharyn Morrow / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan health centers are getting $3.4 million from the federal government to fight the ongoing opioid epidemic.

It’s part of a new federal push to get more people into treatment.

"All across rural and urban American, the opioid epidemic is one of the most pressing public health issues we face," says Kathleend Falk, regional director of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Humans Services. "We lose far too many of our fellow Americans to drug overdoses.”

Falk says in the six  Great Lake states alone, more than 8,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2014. 

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."

Syringe
VCU CNS / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Some Michigan lawmakers want to give school districts access to a drug that can save the life of someone who's overdosed on heroin or prescription painkillers.

Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is already available with a prescription in Michigan. Under a new pair of bills in Lansing, schools would have the option to stock and administer it.

Thomas Marthinsen / Flickr

Many communities are grappling with an epidemic of heroin and prescription drug abuse. 

But when Lansing Police Chief Mike Yankowski crunched the local numbers, he says they were "eye-popping."

His officers responded to 26 heroin-related deaths in 2015, he says. 

"That is actually more than homicides and fatal car accidents here in the city of Lansing," he says.

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.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan has a growing problem with accidental deaths, according to a new report.

The Trust for America’s Health released its new report “The Facts Hurt” today.    

The report looks at drug overdoses, motor vehicle crashes, head injuries, sexual violence, homicides, child abuse and other causes of fatal injuries.