Pills and tablets
e-Magine Art / Creative Commons

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.

Sparrow Hospital entrance in Lansing
Allen Neighborhood Center / Creative Commons

The Michigan Nurses Association has filed an unfair labor complaint against Sparrow Hospital in Lansing.

It stems from the hospital's recent decision to close its substance abuse intake unit and move services to the hospital's main campus.

A recent poll finds 90% of us want to have end of life discussions of our doctors, but only 17% have actually done so
University of Michigan Medical School

No matter what your circumstances in life, there is one great and final equalizer: Every single one of us will die.

Yet it is often difficult for patients, their families and their physicians to accept the approaching end of life and to shift focus of care from curing and treating to comfort.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new poll shows strong support for restrictions on e-cigarettes. 

But industry group say more restrictions may create a kind of regulatory “prohibition”.

The latest C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health at the University of Michigan finds a majority of parents and teens agree that e-cigarettes should be restricted in public spaces, come with health warnings and be taxed like conventional cigarettes.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Dozens of families turned up for free blood lead level testing in Flint today.

Nurses tried to soothe the fears of toddlers, telling them “it’s just a little poke” before using a small lancet to prick the child’s finger.   

Many of the children were not soothed. But many parents hope the clinic will ease some of their worries.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Veterans’ Day observances are taking place across Michigan today.   

On this day, many vets are still struggling with old wounds and new obstacles to getting help. 

EPA region 5 director Susan Hedman (file photo).
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A federal agency will review how the state of Michigan monitors local drinking water.

Regional EPA administrator Susan Hedman says her agency will conduct an audit of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s drinking water program.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

New tests suggest high lead levels in the drinking water at one Flint school may have a simple and inexpensive solution.

Initial test results on drinking water samples taken at Freeman Elementary showed high levels of lead in the water: 101 parts per billion or roughly six times the federal action level for lead in tap water.

Follow-up tests were conducted last month on water at four Flint schools that tested at or above the federal action level. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint school officials will hold a lead education session next week.

Preliminary tests showed 4 of 13 Flint schools had lead levels in their drinking water at or above the federal action level. Results from more in-depth testing should be released next week.

Next Thursday, Flint Community Schools, along with the Genesee County Health Department will hold an information session for parents of children five and under.

Michigan gets a "C" on premature birth report card

Nov 6, 2015
A premature baby
Sarah Hopkins / Creative Commons

Michigan got a "C" on the latest Premature Birth Report Card from the March of Dimes.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, Michigan's 2014 premature birth rate was 9.8%.

Kara Hamilton-McGraw with March of Dimes Michigan said that's an improvement from the previous year.

"We're still not at the March of Dimes goal which is 8.1 percent by 2020, but we're lowering our rate every year. I find that very encouraging," Hamilton-McGraw said.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michiganders can expect to pay a little more for health insurance as the next round of Obamacare starts today.

Government officials say the cost of a benchmark plan in Michigan on will increase 1.2% for 2016 coverage. Consumers could start choosing plans Sunday through the online marketplace and have until Dec. 15 to buy coverage if they want it to start Jan. 1.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint residents concerned about the safety of their drinking water will have an opportunity this evening to get answers to their questions.

Flint Congressman Dan Kildee is hosting a telephone town hall tonight starting at 7. Here’s a link to participate.

Kildee will be joined by researchers who discovered rising lead levels in the tap water in some Flint homes and in the blood of many Flint children.

Many Michiganders believe a full moon causes us to act peculiar – but researchers find no correlation between the full moon and unusual human behavior.
Rachel Kramer / Flickr

Throughout history, humans have often thought the full moon changes a person’s behavior – most notably through Hollywood movies about humans turning into vampires or werewolves. In fact, the word “lunatic” itself derives from the Latin word for moon, “luna.”

And as Dustin Dwyer on our State of Opportunity team points out, some teachers put full-moon days on the calendar -- preparing for squirrelly kids.

wikimedia commons

It’s national lead poisoning prevention week, and Metro Detroit county health officials are zeroing in on the problem with an event Tuesday.

The event at Sterling Heights’ Freedom Hill is focused mostly on education and awareness.

But there’s also an opportunity to test kids’ toys and other products for lead.

flickr user The National Guard /

Imagine for a moment what it's like to be a firefighter rushing into a burning home. The smoke can be so thick you can't see your own hand in front of your face.

You're searching for survivors and trying to knock down that fire while doing your best to stay safe.

Lance McCord

Blame "antigenic drift" for the failure of last year's flu vaccine to offer a robust protection against the illness.

The Centers for Disease Control says a series of small genetic changes in a flu virus can make it just different enough from the original variant included in the vaccine, that a vaccinated person's immune system won't recognize it.

And that person can get the flu even after getting the shot.

So, so unfair.

However, health department officials say all was not lost last year. 

Virginia Tech University

Virginia Tech researchers are back in Flint testing the city’s water.

This time they’re looking for bacteria that can lead to a variety of illnesses, including Legionnaire’s Disease.   

Dan Bobkoff / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Nurses Association is supporting legislation that would mandate specific nurse-to-patient staffing levels in hospitals.

For example, an emergency room nurse, under most circumstances, could care for no more than three patients.

A pediatric intensive care unit nurse could care for only one patient at a time.

John Armelagos is president of the Michigan Nurses Association. He says having too many patients causes stress and fatigue for nurses, as well as the potential for mistakes.

wikipedia / creative commons

Grand Rapids Public Schools plans to test the drinking water in its schools  for lead.

The district will start with older buildings first. They are more likely to have lead pipes.

John Helmholdt is Communications Director for Grand Rapids Public Schools. He says the district had already planned to do the testing before high lead levels were found in some Flint homes and school buildings.

"This is all the more reason we should be doing it, having seen what our friends in Flint have gone through," says Helmholdt.

Flint schools to get water filters

Oct 9, 2015
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Every classroom in Flint will soon have a water filter.

ZeroWater, United Way of Genesee County and General Motors Foundation are donation 2,500 filters to Flint schools.

This announcement comes after tests show that four Flint Community Schools have lead levels above the federal action level.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint is going back to Detroit water.   

The state, the city and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation together are kicking in $12 million to shut off the tap to the Flint River.

A year and a half ago, city leaders stood in Flint's water plant and raised plastic glasses to toast the city’s switch to the Flint River.

Eighteen months later, Governor Snyder has announced the end of the Flint River experiment.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A panel of experts is recommending the city of Flint return to Detroit's water system.

As protesters marched outside Flint city hall chanting “lead free water,” inside local, state and national health and water experts agreed that change is needed. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Today people lined up in the rain to get water filters in Flint.

The state is handing out 20,000 Brita filters to people at risk for high lead in their tap water.   Over the weekend, the Genesee County Health Department and United Way gave away 4,000 PUR filters.

“Our goal is to make sure that every single resident in the city of Flint, who needs a water filter gets one,” says Sheryl Thompson, with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Experts will try to come up with a solution to Flint’s water problems tomorrow.

State and federal regulators, along with national experts, will take part in the meeting that will take place at Flint city hall Wednesday afternoon.

They will hear a presentation from Virginia Tech professor Marc Edwards. Edwards is in New York City for a prior commitment, but he’s rearranged his schedule so he can make his presentation to the tech panel remotely. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State and local officials Friday unveiled a plan for fixing Flint’s water problems.

But one demand of many city residents is not on the list.

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality director Dan Wyant addressed what he sees as the critical problem in Flint. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Recent studies have shown blood lead levels in Flint children have doubled, even tripled in some parts of town, since the city started using the Flint River as its drinking water source. 

So today Genesee County officials declared a public health emergency.

flickr user Bart /

Last year, Flint ended five decades of service from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. The city’s going to take its water from a new pipeline from Lake Huron, but that won’t be ready until some time next year.

In the meantime, Flint decided that rather than continuing to pay for Detroit water, it would get its drinking water from the Flint River.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The demand for clean water is growing louder in Flint.

Dozens of people chanted “Fresh, Clean Water” as they jammed the lobby of Flint city hall Monday.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It took five Home Depot employees a couple trips to unload a pickup truck filled with dozens of cases of bottled water into a classroom at a Flint elementary school this afternoon. 

The donation was the largest, but far from the only, bottled water donation to Flint schools today. 


Clean-water activists hope new information about high lead levels in kids could revive a lawsuit against the city of Flint.

The attorney for a Flint group says she'll amend the complaint to force the city back to Detroit's water system.