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Michigan counties struggle to meet need for opioid treatment

prescription drugs
flickr/Charles Williams
Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Almost one third of Michigan counties have no medication-based treatment services for opioid addiction. That's according to an analysis by researchers at the University of Michigan.

Tom Ivacko is with the Center for Local, State and Urban Policy at U of M.

He says they’ve found the need for drug treatment programs is higher than any other unmet need across the state.

“That is higher than the need for access to affordable housing, job training, public transportation, subsidized health care, child care, emergency food and so on,” Ivacko says.

Ivacko says the lack of resources is a barrier for people who are already struggling to make ends meet.

“If they don't have someone to turn to or a helping hand in these difficult times, it's just that much harder for them to try to take a step forward,” he says.

Ivacko says solutions to address the opioid crisis could include helping rural communities gain easier access to specialized treatment providers and removing Michigan's pre-authorization requirement for Buprenorphine – a drug used to treat opioid addiction.

Paulette is a digital media reporter and producer for Michigan Public. She started as a newsroom intern at the station in 2014 and has taken on various roles in that time, including filling in as an on-air host.