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Health

AG Schuette: Use settlement money for opioid addiction crisis

person shaking prescription pills from bottle into hand
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Opioid-related deaths on the rise in Michigan

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is asking the state legislature to spend money from an upcoming lawsuit settlement on a public health campaign on opioid addiction. 

Opioids include illegal drugs like heroin as well as prescription drugs like Oxycontin.

Michigan is getting about $860,000 as its share of a national lawsuit settlement with Johnson and Johnson over a botched recall. 

Unlike many similar settlements, the money will go into the state's general fund, not a restricted fund.  Schuette thinks addressing the state's opioid addiction crisis is the best use of the money. 

Deaths from overdoses are rising.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, opioid-related deaths in the state rose 13% from 2013 to 2015, and an average five people a day in Michigan are now dying from overdoses.

Schuette says a public education campaign could help to prevent addiction by teaching people how dangerous the drugs are, along with how to keep prescription drugs from getting into the wrong hands, as well as mitigate the crisis by teaching people to spot the signs of addiction.

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