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Report warns death rate in Michigan could spike dramatically

Stuart Hamilton

Michigan’s alcohol, drug, and suicide-related deaths could increase by 44 percent by 2025, according to a report released Tuesday by Trust for America’s Health.

John Auerbach is the CEO of the group. He said since 1995 the number of deaths per 100 thousand people has more than doubled.

“And as we project into the future that number could get as high as 66 per 100-thousand. That would be nearly a tripling of people who die of these diagnoses compared to what it was in 1995.”

Auerbach said the state needs to take serious steps to keep the death rate from spiking anymore.

“We consider each of these drug, alcohol, and suicide deaths to be related to what we call diseases of despair. There are underlying behavioral issues related to the suffering that might be due to the conditions in people's lives, their sense of hopelessness.”

Auerbach said Michigan can do more to curb the increase through improved physical and mental health support.

“It’s also important for the healthcare system to more fully incorporate access to mental health and substance abuse treatment as part of what happens within primary care. Your doctor should be screening you and linking you to services.”

Auerbach said death rates are higher in poorer populations, and in the LGBTQ community, groups of people who often have less access to care or support

He said the numbers are likely being driven by opioid-related deaths. Michigan currently ranks 16th nationally in opioid overdose deaths per 100-thousand residents