Indicted lawmaker plans to seek opioid treatment, lawyer says

Rep. Larry Inman, R-Traverse City, discusses his recent indictment on bribery charges inside his Lansing office.

Lansing — A Republican lawmaker indicted on federal bribery charges plans next week to begin treatment for opioid use. 

Rep. Larry Inman, R-Traverse City, met with a specialist on June 1 for an evaluation of his long-term use of opioid prescription medication and found “that this could be a very real problem,” Inman’s lawyer Christopher Cooke said. 

Inman will begin treatment next week, Cooke said, but it is not yet clear whether he will receive in-patient or out-patient care. 

“I think it’s going to be a life-changing thing for Larry,” he said. 

Inman was arraigned last week on charges of bribery, extortion and lying to the FBI in relation to allegations that he attempted to see his vote on controversial prevailing wage legislation in return for a labor union’s political contributions. 

He has not returned to House session his indictment and has resisted calls from the House speaker to resign. 

At his arraignment last week in Grand Rapids, Inman told a federal judge he had prescriptions for pain, blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol medications. Asked if they affected his ability to think clearly, Inman said “only if taken in extreme” amounts, but said that was not the case as he stood in court.

The Traverse City lawmaker told the judge he had not consumed any other drugs or alcohol in the previous 24 hours. 

State Rep. Larry Inman arrives at federal court in Grand Rapids on May 28, 2019.

Inman’s opioid use stemmed from a bad ankle injury “a number of years ago” while he was campaigning, Cooke said. He continued campaigning despite the injury, choosing to walk in a boot while going door-to-door. 

He was prescribed opioids to manage the pain. 

Over the years, Inman has had two serious abdominal surgeries and a degenerative lower back issue, which increased his dependency on the medication, Cooke said.

“In trying to maintain his commitment to get back and forth to Lansing and maintain his two campaigns, he began to take pain medications on an ever increasing level,” the lawyer said. 

Inman's medical revelation comes two days after House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, and House Minority Leader Christine Greig, D-Farmington Hills, introduced a resolution urging Inman to resign or face possible expulsion.

Chatfield said Inman’s alleged attempt to sell his vote on prevailing wage legislation to a labor union and subsequent statements to the press have “drawn ridicule and disgrace” to the state House, shaken the public trust and distracted “from the serious issues and debates before this body.”

On Thursday, Chatfield said he and Greig would not move their resolution forward in light of the revelations about Inman's opioid use. But the speaker said he still believes Inman's resignation is in the best interest of the House.

"I hope he receives the treatment he needs, and I hope he does the right thing by stepping down,” Chatfield told reporters.

Cooke said he and his client are analyzing Inman’s options in the House and in federal court, but his health remains the priority. 

“It’s really about getting a handle on this issue,” he said.