Opioid and Heroin Addiction Have Become a Growing Problem in Ingham County

Opioid and Heroin Addiction Have Become 
a Growing Problem in Ingham County

INGHAM COUNTY - Overdoses in Ingham County are at an all-time high. Local leaders held a press conference on Jan. 7 to discuss how to combat the growing problem.

“Opioid addiction affects law enforcement, emergency medical services, local hospitals, treatment facilities and community groups, not to mention the people who are hurt by addiction,” said Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail. “We have come together to share knowledge and expertise, but also to act. This is a complex problem that demands a collaborative solution.”

Opioids include prescription pain killers, such as Oxycontin and Vicodin, which may be legally prescribed, and heroin, a "Schedule I" drug that has no accepted medical use. Prescription opioids have effects similar to heroin, and prescription drug addiction can be a gateway to heroin usage.

In 2014, there were 66 opioid-related deaths in Ingham County. In 2015, January through October, there were 54. Nationally, the number of overdose deaths involving opioid pain relievers tripled from 2001 to 2014. The number of heroin overdose deaths increased 6-fold nationally in that same time period.

Local leaders formed the Ingham Opioid Work Group to increase understanding and address the growing problem of opioid abuse. The group, first convened in early 2015, is moving to a more public and active phase with the press conference and awareness campaign.

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