Sparrow Hospital’s Annual Drug Report reveals rise in stimulant-related deaths

“We gotta make progress there,” said Patrick Patterson, Executive Director of Mid Michigan Recovery Services.
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 7:17 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Sparrow Hospital released its 2022 Annual Drug Report Tuesday morning.

Background: Opioid-related deaths decrease as cocaine-related deaths increase in Michigan

The report highlighted an array of different statistics which talked about deaths related to specific types of drugs and compared statistics from this year to the last.

One of the main findings from the report showed decreases in overall drug-related deaths as well as decreases in opioid and heroin deaths. Michelle Fox, the Chief Investigator for Sparrow Hospital’s medical examiner, said opioid deaths tend to mimic our total overall deaths; opioids are involved in a large percentage of drug-related deaths.

“Opioids are involved in 82% of our deaths this year,” Fox said. “We average about 81% over our past few years of tracking.”

That means that statistic has stayed consistent. However, this was not the same case for stimulant-related deaths.

“We’re starting to see an increase in our stimulants,” said Fox.

Patrick Patterson, the Executive Director of Mid-Michigan Recovery Services, said there are ways to combat this issue. He’s seen it happen right in front of him.

“We’ve revived two people just in the hallway here,” said Patterson, who was referring to two overdoses that were reversed with Naloxone, otherwise known as Narcan.

Patterson said he believes that the accessibility and anonymity of Naloxone can be the difference between life and death.

“This is illegal drug use so, folks are concerned that in trying to have a safeguard against their possible death they run into law enforcement issues,” Patterson said. “It is a fine line, and the anonymous thing is no doubt the way to go.”

Patterson said the FDA is considering making Naloxone an over-the-counter drug, which he thinks will help lower drug-related deaths.

If you or someone you know is dealing with addiction, here are some helpful resources in Ingham County:

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