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Kent County will add staff to deal with opioid addiction and PFAS exposure

Downtown Grand Rapids
Steven Depolo
Creative Commons
Kent County's Adminstration building in downtown Grand Rapids.

Kent County is adding two full-time health experts to help tackle issues of PFAS exposure and opioid addiction.

The Kent County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to approve hiring two full-time epidemiologists for the health department.

Teresa Branson, the county’s Deputy Health Officer, says the department was stretching itself thin dealing with these issues. But adding more staff is good for the department and county residents.

“So I really see our dedication of these resources and having two public health epidemiologists as further carrying out our mission to promote health throughout Kent County," she said.

Branson says the county began looking into PFAS exposure last year. But it has been looking for ways to fight opioid addiction for the last three years.

“We already had a task force dealing with opioids in [Kent County], but we knew that residents wanted to have someone to direct their concerns to more specifically,” she said.

Residents can expect to see these positions filled sometime this summer.

Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
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