LANSING, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and other members of the Michigan Opioids Task Force announced Thursday a slate of steps the state is taking to combat the opioid epidemic.

The state’s strategy addresses three key areas: preventing opioid misuse, ensuring individuals using opioids can access high-quality recovery treatment and reducing the harm caused by opioids to individuals and their communities.

The state is announcing new actions in all three areas; the beginning of a multi-year blitz to cut opioid-related overdose deaths by half in five years. In 2017, Michigan recorded more than 2,000 opioid-related overdose deaths and more than 7,000 Michiganders have lost their lives to this epidemic in the last five years.

“We are losing more than five people every single day to opioid overdoses,” said Whitmer. “This epidemic touches all areas of our state and is one of the greatest health crises of our lifetimes. My number one priority is protecting our families and our overall public health, and these efforts will help bring us closer to ending this epidemic.”

The Michigan Opioids Task Force, created by Whitmer in August, held its first meeting last month to map out an action plan across state departments to meet this goal. The Task Force will announce additional actions in the coming months and conduct a series of regional townhall meetings to hear directly from individuals across the state about how the epidemic has affected their communities.

For more information on the opioid epidemic and efforts being made by the state to address this issue, visit www.Michigan.gov/Opioids.

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