While Michigan’s opioid problems may not be as well known as the issues confronting states like Kentucky, West Virginia, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania, the state has still been hit hard by the opioid crisis. Ottawa County, located on the western side of the state, has seen a rapid increase in opioid-related deaths, with 26 individuals dying in 2016, most of them from heroin.
That may not seem like a high number compared with other areas, but considering the fact that the county has a population just above 250,000, it’s considered to be a serious problem. In 2015, only 14 residents in the county died from overdoses, which makes 2016’s numbers a more than 85% increase in just 12 months, and that’s what seems to concern local officials the most.
While local law enforcement officials are surprised at the steep increase in deaths in Ottawa County, they say that the region’s heroin epidemic didn’t emerge overnight. Instead, it’s closely linked to a variety of prescription drug addiction issues that have plagued the area for the last several years.
Officials believe that many residents who were initially received a prescription for opioid painkillers may have later turned to illicit prescription drugs, and eventually, heroin. Specifically, they say that individuals suffering from addiction may have turned to heroin because they could not afford the expensive street prices of illicit prescription medications. It’s estimated that the average western Michigan drug user can get ‘extremely high’ from only $20 of heroin, while it could take $100 or more to attain the same ‘high’ from pills.
Ottawa County, Michigan Officials See Increasing Amounts of Fentanyl and Carfentanil Cut Into Local Heroin Supplies
In addition to the increase in heroin overdoses, Ottawa County law enforcement is seeing another disturbing trend: an increase in deadly heroin additives like fentanyl and carfentanil mixed into local batches of the drug. These additives have become almost commonplace in nearby Ohio, but are relatively new to the Michigan area, and could pose huge risks for residents who may not know just how dangerous they are.
Just a tiny amount of carfentanil, a drug 10,000 times stronger than morphine, can cause a nearly instant overdose. Fentanyl is 100 times stronger than morphine, and can also kill swiftly in relatively tiny amounts. Both of these drugs are considerably cheaper to produce than heroin and can greatly increase the potency of a large batch of the drug, decreasing production times and increasing profits for dealers, suppliers, distributors, and organized crime organizations.
Ottawa County, Michigan is just one example of hundreds of local areas around the U.S. experiencing a dramatic spike in opioid overdose deaths. A combination of economic issues, a lack of good medical care, doctor over-prescribing, and rampant prescription drug abuse are just a few of the many issues that have converged to create America’s growing opioid addiction crisis. This multitude of causes means that a variety of solutions will be needed to address the problem– and one of the most important will be educating individuals and families about the importance of getting treatment for opioid addiction.
At Get Treatment, we’re passionate about helping addiction people across America find the high-quality opioid addiction treatment that they so desperately need. The decision to attend drug can be scary, but finding the right treatment facility doesn’t have to be. Our network of accredited, state-of-the-art addiction treatment centers provide individualized rehabilitation programs to fit the needs of every patient.
In addition, if you or someone you love is suffering from opioid addiction in Michigan, make sure to check out our recently updated list of Michigan Addiction Treatment Centers today.