Opioid crisis reveals ‘broken system’


Opioid misuse affects everyone.

In 2015, nearly 600,000 people in the U.S. used illegal opioid drugs, and more than 2 million misused prescription opioid pain relievers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Every day, emergency room professionals treat more than 1,000 people for prescription opioid misuse, and more than 91 people die from opioid overdoses.

A few of the consequences include an increasingly unhealthy and unproductive society, broken relationships and higher healthcare costs.

But medical experts and community leaders who gathered Oct. 19 at the Crain’s Detroit Business 2017 Health Care Summit contend improved education, easier access to treatment, a change in mindset, and community and criminal justice reforms can help establish prevention and treatment protocols that don’t just reduce but eventually eliminate the opioid epidemic in America.

Long before the federal government declared a nationwide opioid epidemic, Linda Davis, a judge for 41-B District Court in Macomb County, was dealing with the effects of substance abuse in her own home. Her daughter suffered a cheerleading injury and received prescription Vicodin; later, the teenager became addicted to heroin. The problem isn’t unusual. The CDC reports that about 80 percent of heroin users start out using prescription opioids.

This story, sponsored by Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, is published in full at Crainsdetroit.com. Read it here.