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Michigan gets $17.5 million to cut opioid overdoses and treat addictions

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Melissa Benmark
Michigan Radio

Michigan is getting $17.5 million in federal funds to fight opioid overdose deaths and addiction.

Andrea Taverna is Senior Advisor for Opioid Strategy with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

She says the funds will target geographic areas where large numbers of people have died of overdoses.

"In Michigan right now, Wayne and Genesee County saw very unfortunate and large increases in opioid overdose deaths, so those are our primary focuses geographically," says Taverna.

184 people died of opioid overdoses in Genesee County in 2018.  678 people died of opioid overdoses in Wayne County that year.

The state will also try to target services for people at high risk of overdosing.

Taverna says it's especially dangerous for someone to stop using opioids for a time and then start up again.

"Whether they are in substance use treatment so they're not using, whether they're incarcerated, an individual's tolerance to opioids falls dramatically during that time, " says Taverna. " So if they start using again they face a very high risk of overdose."

Some of the funds will also be spent to encourage doctors, clinics and hospitals to start or expand opioid addiction treatment programs.

Grant funds will be distributed in the following amounts:

  • Naloxone distribution to high-risk areas and populations, $4.5 million
  • Medications to treat opioid use disorder in emergency departments, $4 million
  • Medications to treat opioid use disorder in jails, $3 million
  • Syringe service programs, $2 million
  • Mobile care units, $1.7 million
  • Loan repayment for providers beginning or expanding medication-assisted treatment, $1.25 million
  • Outreach to increase providers offering medications to treat opioid use disorder, $410,000
  • Data-driven overdose response efforts, $235,000
  • Start-up costs for new treatment services, $235,000
  • Community engagement in majority-minority communities, $200,000

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Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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