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University recruited to fight opioid abuse

"White Pills" by Shinichiro Hamazaki is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

The federal government is enlisting Ferris State University to combat opioid abuse in three Western Michigan counties.

Ferris State University created the FSU Opioid Task Force in 2016. Its focus is prevention, treatment, and recovery of substance use disorder. In particular, opioid misuse in Mecosta, Newaygo and Osceola Counties.

Data gathered from 2018 shows these counties are struggling to control opioid abuse. In a news release, Ferris State says, “The three counties targeted rank in the bottom half of Michigan’s 83 counties for Health Behaviors – Mecosta (67th), Newaygo (55th) and Osceola (78th).” Adding, “The annual prescribing rate for opioids nationally is 51.4 prescriptions/100 persons, with the rate in those three counties exceeding this: Mecosta (69.9), Newaygo (88.5) and Osceola (51.9).”

In an effort to get the situation under control, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration is awarding Ferris State with a $1 million grant. A multiyear initiative, FSU is one of 89 natioanl recipients with a mission toward reducing substance-related mortality rates. 

The funding will serve the work of the Central Michigan Recovery and Education Network.