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Health, Science and Environment

Overdose deaths exceed firearm and traffic deaths in 2017

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A state representative is speaking out today on the opioid epidemic saying it’s - quote - “been going crazy” the past ten years.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says drug overdoses claimed more lives in 2017 than firearm and traffic-related deaths combined.

The reports shows more than 26-hundred Michiganders died from drug overdoses last year. And study authors say that number may under report overdoses, because several of the deaths are ‘pending investigation’.

Republican State Representative Joe Bellino is the sponsor of bill 5857, legislation that would require opioids and other highly addictive medications be dispensed in locked containers. He said addicts generally don’t start with heroin.

“They never start with sticking a needle in their arm, they always start with a pill, and they love the buzz. And then they can’t get the pill anymore, or the pill gets very very very expensive, then they start shooting up.”

Bellino said each year, more than 900-thousand kids from ages 12 to 17 will pilfer drugs from pill bottles. He said the bottle locking measure could prevent roughly 150-thousand kids from starting a cycle of abuse.