WATERFORD (WWJ) – While calling heroin and opioid addiction a “huge problem,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard told Monday’s forum in Waterford Township “strides” were also being made to confront the crisis.
Bouchard says road patrols have been carrying the antidote narcan to reverse the effects of overdoses—though at first he thought it might help just a handful of addicts.
“It’s a staggering number to me and it should be to anyone – what it does is – it gives those individuals and their families a second chance,” said Bouchard.
It’s the ‘hiding in plain sight’ danger — hitting close to home for Bouchard.
“My daughter knows three girls that have overdosed and died – that she played soccer with — so it pretty much touches everybody, it’s an equal opportunity destroyer – it doesn’t matter what neighborhood you live in or how good your kids are,” he said.
Bouchard says he would have no trouble with the antidote being made available to families without a prescription.
He and other panel members say prevention and education as well as treatment will be key to solving what he calls a huge problem.
The battle to combat these addictions in southeast Michigan is getting help from Washington says Congressman David Trott.
The bipartisn bill takes a comprehensive approach to the problem, says Trott, from law and order to prevention and treatment.
“It gives grants to law enforcement and to first responders, gives grants to drug courts to try and take a different approach to addressing some of the addiction problems and improves treatment programs,” said Trott.
Missing from the bill, according to Pam Hoffmaster co-founder of advocacy group My Hope, is money for addicts seeking help.
“When they get on the phone and try to find somewhere — well, we don’t have a bed — ‘we have a bed in two weeks, you can just come back in two weeks,’ it doesn’t work that way with addicts.”
Trott says the funding package is a good start.