Michigan House Republicans
Leader Hall appoints former Rep. Whiteford to Opioid Advisory Commission
RELEASE|March 22, 2024
Contact: Matt Hall

House Republican Leader Matt Hall this week appointed former Rep. Mary Whiteford to Michigan’s Opioid Advisory Commission (OAC).

Whiteford, a registered nurse who represented most of Allegan County from 2016 to 2022, will serve a three-year term on the commission. The OAC studies the opioid crisis and advises the Legislature and other state leaders about policies to prevent and treat substance abuse disorders and drug overdoses.

“Mary Whiteford has a heart for people and a passion for service that she’s demonstrated as a nurse and a legislator,” said Hall, R-Richland Township. “She dedicated her time in the Legislature to supporting mental and behavioral health and combating the deadly opioid crisis. Mary brings rich expertise in health care and public policy to the Opioid Advisory Commission, and she’ll be an asset in this critical role.”

While in the House of Representatives, Whiteford served on the Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, including two terms as chair, on the Health Policy Committee, and on the CARES Mental Health Task Force. She also served on the Opioid Task Force that recommended establishing the OAC to make ongoing policy and funding proposals. Whiteford led numerous efforts to expand access to mental health care and the prevention and treatment of opioid abuse. She sponsored a new law that lets community-based organizations provide opioid antagonists and treat overdoses. Another law she introduced created the Michigan Crisis and Access Line, a mental health and suicide prevention hotline that anyone can call or text by dialing 988.

“Opioid addiction steals joy, ruins relationships, and takes the lives of so many people,” Whiteford said. “No one is immune from this destructive disease, and preventing and treating substance abuse disorders must be a top priority. The Opioid Advisory Commission performs crucial work to address the opioid crisis, researching the problems of substance abuse and recommending public policy solutions that can save lives. I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of Michigan again so we can make our state safer and healthier.”

Numerous Michigan residents suffer from substance abuse disorders, and the disease impacts their loved ones, as well, especially when it takes a person’s life. The opioid crisis kills thousands of Michiganders each year. In 2022, 2,998 Michigan residents died from drug overdose.

Whiteford and Hall voted for the law creating the Opioid Advisory Commission in 2022. The commission, housed within the Legislative Council, has twelve voting members with experience in substance abuse prevention, health care, mental health, law enforcement, local government, first responder work, or similar fields. The House minority leader appoints one of the twelve voting members.

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