U.P. coalition awarded $52,500 to address growing opioid epidemic

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The Upper Peninsula Coalition Network received a $52,500 grant today, courtesy of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan FoundationThe Michigan Health Endowment FundThe Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and The Superior Health Foundation

The funding is provided through the Taking Action on Opioid and Prescription Drug Abuse in Michigan by Supporting Community Responses initiative, which will help community coalitions across the state begin new projects or enhance or expand existing projects aimed at reducing opioid and prescription drug abuse and harm.

The Upper Peninsula Coalition Network serves Alpena, Oscoda, Ogemaw, Montmorency, Presque Isle, Alcona, Iosco and Michigan counties. In 2015, Alger County had the highest rate of drug overdose deaths at 4.3 deaths per 10,000 residents. The Upper Peninsula Coalition Network includes 14 youth prevention coalitions that provide outpatient substance abuse treatment to approximately 5,600 individuals per year throughout 21 counties of northern Michigan. The grant will support four substance abuse coalitions in the upper peninsula to provide a “gatekeeping” function and carry out the following projects over 18 months:

  • Implement a “Tri-Ethnic Readiness Survey” across participating counties
  • Collaborate with law enforcement, treatment providers and other stakeholders to educate doctors, pharmacists and other professionals on prescribing guidelines
  • Develop and distribute tiered messaging through billboards, flyers, etc.

 Prescription drug and opioid abuse has reached epidemic proportions in Michigan. Together, the partners of this initiative hope to provide a larger network of resources for individuals and families in need of prevention, treatment and support services. Since 2015, the highest number of opioid prescriptions per person were found in counties in northern Michigan. From 1999 to 2016, the number of overdose deaths involving any type of opioid increased more than 17 times in Michigan, from 99 to 1,689. Data from the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS) reported 11.4 million prescriptions for painkillers in 2015, about 115 opioid prescriptions per 100 people.

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