Unite to Face Addiction Rally held at Michigan State Capitol

Addiction plagues more people than you might think -- including one of our state representatives.
Unite to Face Addiction Rally held at Michigan State Capitol
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 5:52 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - You may not know someone who faces addiction in their life, or they might be hiding it better than you’d think.

Michigan state Rep. Joe Bellino has faced his own battle with addiction.

“You know people in recovery that are sober, you just don’t know who they are,” Bellino said, “I went into rehab, I’ve been sober since Dec. 28, 1984. I wake up and thank God every day for my sobriety.”

Data collected by Michigan shows drug related deaths are on the rise. The Ingham County Health Department sees this as well.

“As time has gone on we know that rates of overdose and substance use disorder has really impacted the community,” said Sarah Kenney, with the Ingham County Health Department.

There were about 600 drug related deaths in Michigan in 2001. By 2019, that number was more than 2,000.

Related: Drug overdoses on the rise in Michigan -- But help is available

Paramedic Joshua Gramm feels that burden.

“I’ve just had way too many patients that I’ve lost over the years to overdose,” Gramm said. “Had way too many overdoses where we’ve shown up too late or where there’s permanent damage done.”

In an effort to end this drug epidemic, many different groups and organizations gathered Thursday at the Michigan State Capitol to provide resources and education.

“So, one of the ways that we do that is by providing Narcan training for free throughout our community,” said Kenney.

Related: ‘Harm reduction’ -- How a new approach to the opioid epidemic will impact Mid-Michigan

“There’s so many resources available to people that feel like there might not be any” said Gramm.

Whether you know someone who battles addiction or not, those who attended told News 10 it’s important to learn what you can do in the case of an overdose.

More resources on addiction can be found on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service’s official website and the official Unite to Face Addiction Michigan website.

If you or someone you know needs help with opioid use disorder, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Hotline. It can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

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