drug abuse

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.

Max Johnston

Medication-assisted treatment is increasingly cited as a way to curb the opioid epidemic. However, only 23 percent of publicly funded treatment programs offer it, according to the Pew Research Center.

Emmet County

A northern Michigan man has been sentenced after posting a mass shooting threat on Facebook. Thirty-three-year-old Kevin Wayne Hansen was charged with an attempted threat of terrorism. He pleaded guilty.

Emmet County Prosecutor James Linderman says on Nov. 27, 2017, Hansen threatened to kill at least 59 people, referencing the massacre in Las Vegas last year.

Kevin Hansen's Facebook post:

Is there hope for a new life after being addicted to drugs or selling drugs?

Detroiter Sheldon Hill is proof there is.

After years of selling and using drugs, and multiple arrests, Hill went into an addiction recovery program. He was in his 40s. And it worked.

Today, Hill's sole mission in life is to keep others from making the mistakes and choices he made as a young man.

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.

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."

The latest designer drugs are just a few mouse clicks away, easily ordered from Chinese websites.

Powerful synthetic drugs like bath salts and Flakka are making their way into the country.

Victor Fitz, president of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan, explains that designer drugs are created in response to the country’s stringent drug laws.