DETROIT (WWJ) The scourge of drug addiction is a top topic in Monroe County this week as local law enforcement and health officials are expected to release a first-time action plan for fighting what they’re calling an epidemic.

How bad is it? April Demers with the Monroe Substance Abuse Coalition said more than 40 people died of an opiate overdose in the county last year.

“Monroe County treats more people for in-patient admission for heroin and opiate drugs than any other county in the state of Michigan,” she said. “Monroe does have a problem that really even rises above the rest of the state.

Monroe County law enforcement and health officials are teaming up this week to fight back with a coordinated action plan, including plans to prevent doctor shopping.

Demers said it’s not just a law enforcement issue, it’s also something that requires medical intervention — and education.

“We’re losing people at just an alarming rate,” Demers added.

Vicky Paolino knows that all too well, after losing her son Toma to heroin.

“It’s a roller coaster ride,” she said, describing his cycle of addiction. “You don’t see them for months at a time, you lose a piece of them everyday.”



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