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opioid drugs

Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

Young people who were prescribed opioids for wisdom tooth extraction have a 2.7-fold increased risk of developing an opioid habit compared to those who were not prescribed opioids. That’s according to a new study from the University of Michigan.

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The opioid epidemic is causing death and havoc for families all across the United States.

Hundreds of state and local governments have filed lawsuits against the manufacturers of the prescription opioids. Among those suing are 50 cities in Michigan.

There is a big hurdle for those Michigan cities to clear, though. A 1995 state law, sponsored by then-state senator Bill Schuette, gave pharmaceutical companies protection from lawsuits filed by consumers.

Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

A county at the tip of Michigan's Thumb is bucking a trend: It won't join a lawsuit against the makers of opioid drugs.

Cities and counties across Michigan are suing drug companies and retailers over the consequences of excessive opioid use. They want the companies to reimburse them for the costs of responding to the crisis.

prescription pill bottle
Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

The prescription opioid drug addiction problem not only takes its toll on individuals and families. It also costs local governments in many different ways -- from emergency medical services to more police work.

Some municipalities are signing on to a lawsuit against the manufacturers and distributors of the prescription painkillers.

Michigan group hosts community drug takeback event

Apr 27, 2018
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A group of physicians is hosting a statewide medication take-back event to help people dispose of unneeded and excess opioid drugs.

 

Michigan-OPEN co-director Chad Brummett says unused opioids and other medications are often abused, and can lead to accidental overdose.

 

Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

Prescription opioids and other addictive medications would have to be dispensed in lockable vials under legislation that was introduced yesterday in the Michigan House. 

The goal of the bill is to deter young people from sneaking small numbers of pills from bottles they find in their homes or the homes of friends.

prescription drugs
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The United States Surgeon General Jerome Adams joined a panel discussion on opioid addiction at the University of Michigan Thursday. 

Adams highlighted the challenges of the opioid addiction epidemic, calling for a cultural change in how people use opioid medications.

"We need you all to have discussions in your communities, at your board room tables, at your break room tables, at your dinner tables, about how dangerous these medications can be when used improperly and the fact that in the majority of cases you simply don't need them," said Adams. 

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Last May, Michigan health officials authorized a way for people at risk of opioid overdose to get Naloxone directly from a registered pharmacy without a doctor's prescription.  The authorization also allows family members, friends and other people who may be able to help a person at risk of overdose to obtain Naloxone directly from a registered pharmacy.

Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, is a medication designed to reverse overdoses.

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A federal indictment was unsealed today charging a Livonia doctor and seven other people with conspiracy to illegally distribute highly addictive prescription drugs.

According to the indictment, Dr. Zongli Chang wrote medically unnecessary prescriptions for opioids and other controlled substances in exchange for cash payments. 

person shaking prescription pills from bottle into hand
flickr user frankileon / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The number of government lawsuits against prescription opioid makers and distributors is rising rapidly.

"There are over a hundred that have been filed by state governments, federal governments, local governments, and then Native American tribes,” said Rebecca Haffajee, assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health.

Haffajee thinks those lawsuits could be an effective tool in the fight against the opioid epidemic, as she wrote in a recent New England Journal of Medicine article

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President Donald Trump recently declared America's opioid crisis a “national emergency."

Prescription opioids are prescribed for pain, but the medications can be highly addictive. People who become addicted may switch to heroin when they can no longer get pills at the pharmacy or on the black market.

The epidemic is rapidly killing people, something like 90 people a day in the U.S.

While the nation is coming to grips with the opioid crisis, researchers at the University of Michigan have started a group to reduce opioid addiction in this state.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Monday night, the Lansing city council declared the opioid crisis a public nuisance. It’s a first step toward filing a lawsuit against drug companies.

Needle
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Twelve men face federal charges for their alleged roles in an Oakland County-based drug ring that’s linked to at least one overdose death.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Detroit unsealed an indictment against the men Wednesday.

The indictment alleges the men were part of a “drug trafficking organization known as the TEAM.” The “TEAM” was reportedly a merger of two former street gangs who “joined together to distribute heroin” starting in 2010.

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Patients and surgeons can now find free, online recommendations about how much opioid pain medication to prescribe for 11 common operations.

The guidelines were developed by a team of University of Michigan medical researchers, with the goal of curbing opioid addiction. They include suggested information for health care providers to give patients about post-surgical pain expectations and medication use. 

Michigan Radio

Oakland and Wayne County Executives have filed suit in federal court against 13 opioid drug manufacturers and distributors.

They claim the drug makers' deceptive marketing campaigns over many years contributed heavily to the current opioid addiction crisis.

In 2016, there were 817 opioid-related deaths in Wayne County, a 61 percent increase over the previous year. In Oakland County, opioid-related deaths have risen from 9 in 2009 to 33 in 2015. 


John Chevier / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

In 2000, 59 young adults in Michigan between the ages of 18 and 29 were reported as having chronic hepatitis C (HVC). Last year, there 2,060 reported cases in that same age group.

That’s an astonishing 3,391 percent increase within the span of just 16 years.

Those numbers come from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services annual assessment of hepatitis rates, which was released on Wednesday. 

hands holding a pile of pills
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Health organizations in Michigan just got some more ammunition in the fight against opioid abuse.

The Michigan Health Endowment Fund has awarded nearly $6.5 million dollars in grants to health programs around the state in an effort to address the opioid crisis.  

Becky Cienki, the MHEF's senior program officer, says the grants were made through the fund's behavioral health initiative. The 16 projects that received grants are focused on either substance abuse disorders or mental health.

person shaking prescription pills from bottle into hand
flickr user frankileon / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

State officials say overdose deaths jumped by 18% 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.

doctor
Public Domain

Doctors would be required to check an electronic monitoring database before prescribing painkillers and other drugs under legislation aimed at preventing opioid addicts from "doctor shopping."

Senate Bills 166 and 167 won approval Thursday in the Michigan Senate and were sent to the House for consideration.

Michigan's per capita rate of opiod painkiller prescriptions is the 10th highest in the U.S. 

Timothy Plancon with the DEA's Detroit field office says it's difficult to tell when the dangerous drugs Carfentinil or Fentanyl may be mixed with drugs such as heroin
Narconon

Powerful synthetic opioid street drugs have changed the way some law enforcement officials collect and handle drug evidence. 

Fentanyl and carfentinil are extremely powerful synthetic opiates sometimes used in street drugs that have made their way to Michigan. The drugs are especially dangerous because they can be absorbed through the air or through contact with the skin, according to Timothy Plancon, Special Agent in charge of the DEA's Detroit field office. 

bottles of pills
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Tuesday, state lawmakers will consider a package of bills  aimed at reducing Michigan’s growing problems with prescription painkillers.

Opioids, like hydrocodone and oxycodone, are commonly prescribed for pain management.

Thomas Marthinsen / Flickr

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says his office is treating cases of fatal drug overdoses as murder investigations.

 

He says four attorneys have been assigned to help prosecute cases against opioid and heroin traffickers, including two instances where alleged suppliers are accused of second-degree murder.

 

Syringe
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The state wants more people in Michigan to have access to a drug that can save the life of someone who's overdosed on heroin or prescription painkillers.

A new state standing order pre-authorizes pharmacists to distribute naloxone, also known as Narcan, to anyone without a prescription. 

"It could be someone at risk for having an overdose or a friend, a loved one, a partner of someone who is concerned about a person at risk for an overdose," said Dr. Eden Wells, the state's chief medical officer.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan lawmakers are introducing legislation to help fight rising opioid abuse.

  A group of bipartisan lawmakers is looking to tackle the drug epidemic in Michigan through a variety of ways, including health education in schools and creating prescription limits on opioids. They also are promoting the use of an updated database that monitors prescriptions.

person shaking prescription pills from bottle into hand
flickr user frankileon / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan is updating what state officials call a useful tool for fighting the opioid epidemic.

The problematic state drug monitoring program has gotten a significant facelift. The system is used primarily by law enforcement and doctors to flag potential prescription drug abuse and better treat patients. 

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley chaired the task force that recommended the system update. He said tracking medications is an important tool for doctors, especially when it comes to potential opioid abuse by a patient.

For babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, the first few days and weeks can be more challenging.
Flickr Creative Commons/London Looks

Sara and her husband always wanted to have a baby. They tried for years, but she’d been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome, so she eventually accepted it wasn’t in the cards for them.

Amanda Darche with the Ingham County Health department says she's seen how prescription opioid abuse can lead to heroin use.
United Nations Photo

Deaths related to opioid drug use are continuing to climb in Ingham County, reflecting a similar pattern across the state.

Last year, 77 people suffered opioid-related deaths in 2016, according to Amanda Darche, the health communications specialist with the Ingham County health department.

“If you compare that to 2006, when there were only eight opioid related deaths, you can see that that’s quite an increase,” Darche said. “Opioid abuse really is an epidemic here in the county.”

Paul Ryan
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Republican US House leaders on Friday withdrew their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill from the floor after it was clear the measure would not have enough votes to pass. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether Gov. Rick Snyder and Healthy Michigan advocates can breath a sigh of relief.

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Governor Rick Snyder says current efforts to curb opioid abuse and addiction in Michigan aren’t working as nearly 2,000 people a year in the state die from overdoses.

“Far too many lives have been either lost, damaged, injured in some fashion because of these drugs,” he said. “We need to do more in our state.”

Snyder says a big part of the problem is over-prescribing painkillers. He says prescriptions have spiraled in recent years.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers will soon discuss proposed solutions to Michigan’s opioid drug epidemic.

State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker’s bills would crack down on doctors or clinics that prescribe narcotics without a legitimate medical purpose, and pharmacies that dispense them.

“Opioid related overdoses are skyrocketing nationwide, and unfortunately, Michigan’s overdose death rate is one of the highest in the nation,” said Schuitmaker (R-Lawton) in a written statement.

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