State Rep. Phil Green today joined other elected officials and industry experts for a panel on opioids and addiction – as Green remains committed to delivering solutions for an increasingly dire trend throughout Michigan.
The event at Gloria Coles Flint Public Library on Aug. 18 included the state Attorney General, Flint mayor Sheldon Neeley, Genesee County Commissioner Ellen Ellenburg, and former state Sen. Jim Ananich.
“As opioid deaths and addiction continues to rise, it’s increasingly clear is an issue impacting our families and friends in every corner of Michigan,” said Green, who serves as Republican vice chair on the Health and Human Services Appropriations subcommittee. “I am honored to have a seat at the table as we work to reverse this crisis. Having these conversations and pushing forward with evidence-based strategies is going to keep our neighborhoods safer, cut down on crime and save lives.
“We need to prioritize expanded access to treatment and recovery, while also furthering education in multiple areas about the dangers these drugs can pose. This is a top issue for me in the Legislature.”
According to statistics, 130 people die from opioid overdoses every day in the United States. That’s an average of one person every nine minutes. In Michigan, over 3,000 people died of an overdose in 2021 – nearly tripling the state’s number of traffic crash fatalities. This total has been a steady increase over the course of 25 years, where just over 100 deaths were reported statewide in 1999.
Green also pointed to a recent study by the National Library of Medicine that illuminates the growing number of overdose deaths in rural Michigan. From 2019 to 2020, deaths in these areas increased by 72.4%. Fentanyl was the most common substance detected and had a 94% increase from 2018 to 2020, and was found in 70% of all overdose deaths during the study.
Overdoses also put immense strain on hospital staff. Emergency departments in Michigan have an estimated 25,000 drug overdose visits each year, according to data provided by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.
“This crisis has wide-ranging impacts, and we need wide-ranging, effective solutions,” Green said.
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