State: Overdose Deaths Up Last Year; Most Involve Opioids

LANSING (WWJ/AP) – State officials say overdose deaths jumped by 18 percent last year in Michigan with the majority of cases involving opioid abuse.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday that nearly 1,700 of the 2,335 overdose deaths in 2016 were opioid-related.

There were 1,275 opioid-related deaths in 2015.

“The addiction epidemic continues to take lives and hurt families in every corner of our state and our country,” Lt. Gov. Brian Calley said in a statement. “While many initiatives are underway to address this crisis, it’s clear that we have to work harder to reverse this tragic trend. Working together on treatment and prevention efforts will ultimately lead to more second chances and fewer funerals.”

Opioids include heroin, prescription opioids, and nonpharmaceutical fentanyl.

The state’s Health and Human Services department has launched a media campaign to raise awareness about opioid use, treatment options and proper storage and disposal of prescription drugs.

Earlier this year, Michigan received more than $16 million in Opioid State Targeted Response funds from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The grant is being used to promote prevention and increase access to treatment by funding state initiatives.

In May, Michigan issued a standing order to pre-authorize the distribution of naloxone by pharmacists to eligible individuals. Naloxone is a fast-acting, potentially life-saving medication that reverses opioid overdose. Since it was issued, more than 700 (25 percent) of Michigan pharmacies have registered to dispense naloxone under the standing order.

To learn more about prescription drugs and opioids, or for resources on opioid addiction, visit www.michigan.gov/stopoverdoses.

© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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