Drug deaths are decreasing in Mid-Michigan

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 6:52 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Good news in the battle against overdose deaths. A new report released Monday said the number of people dying from drugs is dropping.

But that’s not the entire story when it comes to drug addiction here in Mid-Michigan.

Sparrow reports that 20 fewer people have died from overdoses compared to this time last year. Anti-drug advocacy groups said the numbers are good, but addiction is still high.

Linda Davis’ is the Executive Director at Families Against Narcotics. She got involved because she saw a rise in drug addiction in her community and her own home. Davis’s teenage daughter had surgery on her knee a few years ago and was prescribed to pills to control the pain. But over time, she began to abuse that pain medication and became addicted.

“Well, it certainly derailed her life for several years fortunately she is one of the lucky ones and found her road to recovery,” said Davis

Even though a new report from Sparrow shows overdose deaths are down overall overdoses and addiction are still high.

“The only reason why people are not dying at such a rapid rate is because we’ve been very diligent about getting Narcan out into the community. Which is a lifesaving drug if you are overdosing,” said Davis.

The Ingham County Sheriffs Office has equipped all cars and officers with Narcan.

But Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth says they have already had to use it 16 times this year and that was the total number used for all of 2021.

“So, to me that shows that we’re still having to respond to way too many of these just the system is allowing to save a lot more people in the process which is great,” said Wrigglesworth. “But keep in mind the Naloxone or Narcan or life saving measure we take doesn’t necessarily or have any effect on the addiction itself.”

Sparrow’s data looks at drug overdose deaths in Ingham, Eaton, Ionia, Isabella, and Shiawassee counties. Quarter 2 is the highest decrease in deaths Sparrow has seen since 2018 - a third of the number of deaths are down.

Michelle Fox is the supervisor at Sparrow Forensic Pathology.

“All of our drug classes ended up decreasing, cocaine is the only one that kind of stayed stable, but the rest of the drug classes decreased,” said Fox. “Ingham had been largest decrease at 21 less than we had last year at this time.”

Sparrow said treatment and community support groups like Families Against Narcotics can help get overdoses and deaths lower.

“Many people it’s a cumbersome procedure it’s not easy and yet we expect people with a brain disease to navigate that system so that’s we do,” said Davis. “We help you do that for you so that you’re not left alone in that process alone.”

And even though numbers are low this quarter there is still a chance for them to increase in the upcoming months.

Read next:

Subscribe to our News 10 newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email every morning.