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opioid drugs

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In a perfect world, all of our doctors would be really, really good at something called “motivational interviewing.”

There are a million websites and books devoted to motivational interviewing, but here’s a super-quick synopsis (that might make an expert in motivational interviewing cringe): basically, it’s an in-depth, open-ended, non-judgmental conversation about health behaviors that draws out our own thoughts about our drug use/alcoholism/weight struggles, etc. 

Babies exposed to opioids in the womb may suffer from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, especially in rural areas
User anitapatterson / Morguefile / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

As more babies are born addicted to opioids, rural communities are being hit the hardest, according to a new study from a University of Michigan pediatrician.  

Between 2004 and 2013, urban areas saw a four-fold increase in babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (that’s the clinical term for a baby born addicted to opioids, including heroin and some prescription painkillers). Rural areas saw a seven-fold surge.

Those rural moms were also more likely to struggle financially and have less access to mental health care, says the study’s author, University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital Dr. Nicole Villapiano.

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

Michigan has a fierce fight on its hands. A fight to keep people out of the clutches of opioid and heroin addiction. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services offers some stunning numbers that show how badly this fight is going. 

In 1999 there were 99 heroin or opioid overdose deaths. In 2014, that number climbed to 1,001. 

That's 10 times as many deaths in just 15 years.

bottle of pills
Tom Varco / Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Bills making their way through the Michigan Legislature would allow school staff to more quickly treat students who overdose on heroin or prescription opioid pills. 

If they pass, teachers wouldn’t have to wait for an ambulance before getting them naloxone, aka Narcan, the anti-opioid drug that police and EMS workers carry.

Thomas Marthinsen / Flickr

After watching heroin overdoses rise slowly over the last two years, police in Battle Creek saw a sudden spike in November.

LifeCare Ambulance serves Calhoun County. It responded to 56 calls for heroin overdoses in November this year, compared to 18 overdoses in November, 2015.

Police suspect heroin cut with Carfentanil is to blame, though they are still awaiting the results of lab tests to confirm.

Carfentanil is a powerful opiate sometimes used as an elephant tranquilizer and is 10,000 times more powerful than morphine.

U of M hopes to crack down on opioid addiction

Oct 25, 2016
Courtesy frankieleon / Creative Commons -- http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

With a $1.4 million per year grant from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service, the University of Michigan launched a five-year project called the Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network (Michigan-OPEN).

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

Carfentanil-laced heroin is showing up in Michigan.

That was confirmed last week, when public health officials in Wayne County definitively linked at least 19 deaths since July to the powerful synthetic opioid.

They were on the lookout for carfentanil after it appeared in nearby states this summer — particularly Ohio, where a late-summer surge in fatal overdoses was tied to carfentanil. There was also a suspected case in Kent County last month.

wikimedia commons

A potent synthetic opioid is showing up in Michigan’s illicit drug supply, and is now linked to at least 19 deaths.

Carfentanil is used as an elephant tranquilizer. It can be mixed with heroin, or pressed into pill form.

It’s said to be 100 times more potent than its cousin fentanyl, and 10,000 times more potent than morphine. It’s been linked to a spike in overdose deaths around the Midwest over the past several months.

PAULA FRIEDRICH / Michigan Radio

Librarians are finding themselves face to face with the heroin and opioid epidemic as drug users take advantage of free access to quiet areas where people often keep to themselves.

The library director in Ann Arbor, Michigan, says the open-access environment can make public libraries susceptible to misuse.

In the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, a man fatally overdosed in a locked library restroom in April. Officials say his body might have been there for days, overlooked by a now-fired security contractor.

“I remember looking at some of the early federal reports involving opioid pain killers and overdose deaths and they had increased so rapidly, when I was looking at the data I was convinced someone had put a decimal point in the wrong place,” Dr. Andrew Kolodny said.

Kolodny is a senior scientist at Brandeis University and executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing. He spent time working in addiction medicine in New York City during the early 2000s.

“The sharp increase was very real and what we would ultimately come to recognize is that we were at the beginning of a new, very severe epidemic,” Kolodny said.

Looking down on a hand holding an open bottle of prescription drugs.
Sharyn Morrow / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Opioid tracking in Michigan is getting an overhaul in the future. A state task force has been working on using millions of dollars to put a dent in Michigan’s opioid drug problem. A big portion of the money and resources will go toward a new opioid tracking system.

Michigan’s current system, MAPS, keeps track of opioid prescriptions and use by patients. That helps law enforcement and medical professionals keep opioids out of the hands of drug abusers.

Mark Ilgen says ImPAT is a "psychotherapeutic ... non-pharmacological approach" to helping people adapt to and cope with their pain.
flickr user frankileon / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It's become clear that America is in the grips of an opioid addiction epidemic.

But here's a dilemma: what if you're in pain? Is there a way to help patients get relief from pain without resorting to powerful pain medicines that can get you addicted?

A new study indicates the answer could be yes, through something called ImPAT, or Improving Pain during Addiction Treatment. 

According to Waller, opiate addiction is a chronic neurological disorder.
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"Minding Michigan" is Stateside's ongoing series that examines mental health issues in our state. 

In 2014, Michigan became the first state to create a set of detailed guidelines for treating people addicted to heroin and other opioid drugs. 

The guidelines were praised by many in the treatment community as being clear, understandable and taking addiction treatment in Michigan to the next level.

Dr. Corey Waller is the doctor who wrote those guidelines. 

Mark Ilgen says ImPAT is a "psychotherapeutic ... non-pharmacological approach" to helping people adapt to and cope with their pain.
flickr user frankileon / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Some cities have been looking at a program that takes a different approach to people with addictions who sometimes have run-ins with the law.

In Michigan, Escanaba is trying the new approach. It's called the ANGEL Program.

Escanaba City Manager Jim O'Toole​ joined us to talk about it.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A plan to create a pilot roadside drug-testing program in five of the state's counties will soon be on its way to Gov. Rick Snyder.

  The Legislature approved bills Thursday that would allow law enforcement officers who are trained to recognize impairment due to drugs or alcohol to test drivers' saliva.

  The state police would choose five counties to start the yearlong pilot program.

  A bill analysis says the results of the roadside saliva test could be allowed as evidence in criminal prosecutions or administrative hearings in some cases.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - People addicted to opioids in the remote Upper Peninsula city of Escanaba have a rare group of people to turn to for treatment: the police.

  Escanaba Lt. Robert LaMarche, the soon-to-be director of the Escanaba police, says they won't arrest people seeking addiction treatment if drug possession is their only crime.

A new poll finds many parents fail to keep track of their children’s pain medicines.

The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health surveyed more than a thousand parents about what they do with their child’s old pain medicines.  Most said they keep it at home.

Fifteen percent of parents polled said they either don’t know where the meds are or gave them to other family members.

That worries Sarah Clark, co-director of the poll. She says opioids like oxycodone or hydrocodone should not stay in the home when they are no longer needed.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A group of 20 lawmakers backs a bill to require more rigorous medical training for police officers.

  The bill sponsor is Republican state Rep. Hank Vaupel. He says some rural police aren't properly equipped to rescue people undergoing heroin or prescription opioid overdoses. His bill would require all emergency first responders, including police, to stay current on CPR training suited for the overdoses.

Bay County plans another public forum on heroin epidemic

Apr 10, 2016
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

BANGOR TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Bay County is planning another public forum as part of an ongoing effort to deal with a heroin epidemic as declared by the health department and law enforcement officials in June.

Looking down on a hand holding an open bottle of prescription drugs.
Sharyn Morrow / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan health centers are getting $3.4 million from the federal government to fight the ongoing opioid epidemic.

It’s part of a new federal push to get more people into treatment.

"All across rural and urban American, the opioid epidemic is one of the most pressing public health issues we face," says Kathleend Falk, regional director of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Humans Services. "We lose far too many of our fellow Americans to drug overdoses.”

Falk says in the six  Great Lake states alone, more than 8,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2014. 

Looking down on a hand holding an open bottle of prescription drugs.
Sharyn Morrow / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan has a growing problem with what's called "uncoordinated prescription opioid use," and it's putting hundreds of patients at risk.

“In Michigan we went from 81 deaths in 1999 to 519 deaths in 2013 from opioids,” said Marianne Udow-Phillips from the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation.

A new report from CHRT finds that most opioids are used and prescribed appropriately, but a small number of patients receive numerous prescriptions from separate prescribers within a short period of time.

MSU / Michigan State University

A new study out of Michigan State University found that, among adolescents, 14- and 15-year-olds are particularly vulnerable to opioid addiction.

Looking at a national sample of 42,000 respondents, the study found that 14- and 15-year-olds are two to three times more likely than 20- and 21-year olds to become dependent on prescription painkillers.

Family photo

A horrific video showing a naked man slowly dying in a Macomb County jail cell is sparking local and national outrage.

The death of David Stojcevski brings into sharp focus the overlap between some issues that have drawn intense scrutiny recently: deaths of people in police custody, people being jailed for minor offenses because they can’t afford to pay fines, and the opioid addiction crisis.

Carolyn Gearig / Michigan Radio

Michigan has a serious opioid problem. A new task force is looking for public input on how to fix it.

In 2013, more than 400 people in Michigan died from drug overdoses – mainly heroin and prescription painkillers like OxyContin. At least 3,000, at the very least, have died since 2005.

Carolyn Gearig / Michigan Radio

In 2013, Michigan’s drug-related death rate was 18.5 deaths per 100,000 people*, higher than most other states in the country. The U.S. average was 14.6.

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