Addiction

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Michigan will get $2.6 million from drug manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser Group, according to the Michigan Attorney General's office.

Michigan filed suit with 32 other states claiming that the company misled doctors, patients and the public while marketing the drug. 

Michi

State Representative Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) will seek treatment for long-term use of pain medications.

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After nearly 20 years, Addiction Treatment Services in Traverse City will stop performing court-ordered drug tests.

Max Johnston

Last year nearly 3,000 people died from drug overdoses in Michigan. That was an 80 percent increase in the past five years. There is a form of treatment that could help.

It involves prescribed medication to fight addiction and has been called the “gold standard” for opioid treatment. But it can be hard to find in northern Michigan.

Mike Lober was addicted to painkillers and heroin for 40 years. He says he was constantly chasing his next fix.

Today on Stateside, a conversation about the dismal state of special education in Michigan in light of a recent report that names it as the only state in need of federal intervention to help improve special education curriculum. Plus, an environmental health expert talks about the potential health risks associated with PFAS exposure. 

Michigan State Police

People with drug problems can now ask the Cadillac state police for help without fear of being arrested. The Michigan State Police Cadillac post began participating in the Angel Program this month.

Michigan has a fierce fight on its hands. A fight to keep people out of the clutches of opioid and heroin addiction. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services offers some stunning numbers that show how badly this fight is going. 

In 1999 there were 99 heroin or opioid overdose deaths. In 2014, that number climbed to 1,001. 

That's 10 times as many deaths in just 15 years.

“I remember looking at some of the early federal reports involving opioid pain killers and overdose deaths and they had increased so rapidly, when I was looking at the data I was convinced someone had put a decimal point in the wrong place,” Dr. Andrew Kolodny said.

Kolodny is a senior scientist at Brandeis University and executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing. He spent time working in addiction medicine in New York City during the early 2000s.

“The sharp increase was very real and what we would ultimately come to recognize is that we were at the beginning of a new, very severe epidemic,” Kolodny said.

It's become clear that America is in the grips of an opioid addiction epidemic.

But here's a dilemma: what if you're in pain? Is there a way to help patients get relief from pain without resorting to powerful pain medicines that can get you addicted?

A new study indicates the answer could be yes, through something called ImPAT, or Improving Pain during Addiction Treatment. 

When it comes to finding a pathway to helping an addict to recovery, most people and most courts think of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

The popular view is that AA and NA are the only ways for someone to get clean and sober, and stay that way.

But there are other options, organizations like SMART Recovery, LifeRing Secular Recovery and the Buddhist Recovery Network

For some, these alternatives can do what AA and NA could not.

"Minding Michigan" is Stateside's ongoing series that examines mental health issues in our state. 

In 2014, Michigan became the first state to create a set of detailed guidelines for treating people addicted to heroin and other opioid drugs. 

The guidelines were praised by many in the treatment community as being clear, understandable and taking addiction treatment in Michigan to the next level.

Dr. Corey Waller is the doctor who wrote those guidelines. 

Some cities have been looking at a program that takes a different approach to people with addictions who sometimes have run-ins with the law.

In Michigan, Escanaba is trying the new approach. It's called the ANGEL Program.

Escanaba City Manager Jim O'Toole​ joined us to talk about it.

TC Retreat

TC Retreat, a sober living house in Traverse City, does not violate zoning laws. On Tuesday night, the city's Board of Zoning Appeals voted seven to one to overturn an earlier decision that said TC Retreat violated the single-family zoning district where it's located. TC Retreat is a house for people recovering from addiction, located on Comanche Street. 

At the meeting a number of people gave public comments. Some people from the neighborhood indicated they thought TC Retreat violated zoning laws.

TC Retreat

A new recovery house for men opened last month in Traverse City. The sober living house has room for six men in recovery. 

Tom Gilbert is the president of TC Retreat, the non-profit that oversees the house.

"People frequently need a safe place to practice what they’ve learned in treatment," Gilbert says. "That’s where TC Retreat comes in with the recovery home, asking folks to make a six month commitment to practice their new sober living skills."