$2.25M awarded to Mich. to fight opioid abuse

Michael Gerstein
The Detroit News

Lansing — Michigan will receive a $2.25 million federal grant to help combat opioid abuse amid an epidemic in which deaths have quadrupled from 1999 to 2014.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced the federal grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday.

The health department said the money will go toward better data collection and analysis of opioid abuse and overdoses to “develop a strategy to combat the epidemic” and create “more comprehensive opioid overdose prevention programs.”

Better data collection about the drug use was one of more than two dozen recommendations from an opioid task force that Republican Gov. Rick Snyder created in 2015. Among them was a plan to improve the state’s prescription tracking database, which the state House approved in May.

“Addiction is an epidemic that is impacting families all across our state and country,” said Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, the task force chairman, in a Wednesday statement. “Michigan is taking action by focusing on community prevention and early detection, and working to connect people with better treatment options. ... This federal grant will help in our efforts to provide more second chances for Michiganders.”

The number of fatal opioid overdoses quadrupled from 1999 to 2014, according to the health department, which said Michigan also prescribed the 10th most opioid pain relievers in the nation in 2012.

Chief Medical Executive Dr. Eden Wells said the grant “is an excellent opportunity” to fight opioid abuse. The CDC awarded similar grants to 12 other states and Washington, D.C.