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Drug overdose deaths increase across the state

Simon Q

New data released Thursday shows a dramatic increase in drug overdose deaths across the state.

Twenty-three hundred people died in the state of Michigan in 2016 because of drug overdose, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

That’s an 18 percent increase from 2015.

Jennifer Eisner is with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.  She said the majority of the deaths were opioid related.

“So the majority of the overdose deaths were related to opioids. Of the twenty three hundred roughly seventeen hundred were opioid related.”

Eisner said opioid addiction has become a statewide problem.

“We are seeing opioid addiction across the state in rural and urban areas. It’s a mix between prescription drugs and more illicit drugs such as heroin.”

Eisner said the Health Department is trying to increase visibility of the problem.

“There are a lot of efforts underway. In addition to the public awareness campaign we recently issued a standing order for naloxone, which is a life saving medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.”

Eisner says the drug has been made available to eligible individuals at participating pharmacies across the state.

She says opioid related deaths went from thirteen hundred in 2015 to seventeen hundred in 2016.