CLINTON TOWNSHIP (WWJ) – Health care professionals and community leaders met at the Clinton Township campus of Macomb County Community College on Friday to talk about what they say is a quickly growing problem of prescription drug abuse.
Experts say 1-in-20 people in the United States, 12 years old or older, have used opioid painkillers to get high; and in Macomb County, 300 young people die each year from drug overdoses.
That may seem a shocking statistic to some, but not for Macomb District Judge Linda Davis, who sees prescription drug cases before her everyday and once served as a county drug prosecutor.
However, Judge Davis was not prepared to learn that her own daughter struggled with addiction.
She has been in recovery now for four and a half years.
“It took us about a three-year battle to get her clean,” Davis said. “Fortunately, she’s doing very well now, but it was the most devastating thing that’s ever happened in my life and I truly did not think that this could happen in my family.”
Judge Davis said her daughter, a straight-A student, became addicted to prescription opiates and quickly moved on to heroin. She said her family incorrectly believed that they could solve the problem on their own, but credits her daughter’s recovery to professional help.
“We just showered (her) with lots of love and attention and let her know how important she was. We thought that she would wake up and realize that this was just a stage in her life and she would move on from it, but once someone is addicted to opiates it takes professionals to get them off of it.”
Judge Davis and Henry Ford Macomb doctors urge that parents, teachers, and children all need to know that prescription drugs should not be taken lightly and that just because a drug comes with a prescription, doesn’t make it safe.
“All of the opiate drugs; the Vicodins, the Oxycontins, the Hydrocodones, are all synthetic forms of heroin,” Judge Davis warned.