University of Michigan study shows young adults using drugs more than ever

The SAMHA hotline is a free, confidential 24/7 treatment referral and information service. It can be reached at 1-800-662-4357.
Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 5:24 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2022 at 7:05 AM EDT

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Drugs take the lives of about eight people in Michigan every day, more than the number of people who die in traffic crashes.

A report from the University of Michigan found that young people are using drugs and alcohol more than ever. The study revealed that people between the ages of 19 and 30 are using drugs at the highest rate since 1988 - when they started recording data.

But those helping young people overcome addiction said there is help available.

David Martin, with Angel Wings for Angie, has worked in sales for the past 34 years. For the last eight years, he has kept a photo album on his desk.

“Angie’s addiction resulted from what I want to say we’re over two over-prescribed moments in her life,” Martin said.

His daughter lost her battle with addiction at the age of 25. Martin has spent his time since then helping others recover.

“I can’t save her. Maybe we can help save you,” Martin said.

When the COVID pandemic hit, his workload doubled.

“That, in my opinion, created a horrible environment for a horrible disease,” Martin said.

He’s not the only one watching the alarming trend. Mike Keenoy, with Endeavor House Ministries in Lansing, said it is worse than ever.

“Being in the midst and on the front lines of all of this going on, it’s literally like they’re dropping like flies,” Keenoy said. “It’s all around us,

Keenoy has recovered from addiction. He said young adults now face a problem he did not have.

“It’s no wonder that the mindset of today’s youth has changed,” Keenoy said. “It’s just become acceptable and so available on every level that it’s the choices they’re faced with.”

There are more drugs available, but there are also more recovery options.

Keenoy said help is available everywhere, but young adults struggling have to ask for it before hitting rock bottom.

“If you wait for the bottom to come, it will kill you,” Keenoy said. “That’s what I was doing, waiting for it to arrive. It was never going to arrive as long as I kept going. It was going to get deeper.”

And those giving help aren’t giving up any time soon.

“I’ll quit when the problem’s gone,” Martin said. “I don’t see that happening in my lifetime so I don’t see me retiring from chasing Angie’s dream.”

Endeavor House Ministries is currently working on construction to open their second home for women. It will be called Angie’s House, after Martin’s daughter.

There is help available in Mid-Michigan. Resources can be found on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website here.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration hotline is a free, confidential 24/7 treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish). It can be reached at 1-800-662-4357.

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