Drug Overdoses Raises Concern For Opiate Incline

“What it is doing to this country, there isn’t a whole lot of difference in terms of the destruction that it is having.”

Several people jailed after three drug overdoses.

A rise in opiate drugs and heroin in Northern Michigan could be to blame.

Three people are in jail after overdoses were reported at Munson Healthcare Cadillac Hospital.

State troopers, at the same time, investigated a suspicious death in a nearby township that could be tied to opiate-related drugs.

Police are calling the death suspicious.

9&10’s Cody Boyer and photojournalist Melvin Kimbrough have more details on the rise of these dangerous drugs in tonight’s Top Story.

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It didn’t take long for police to suspect heroin or other opiates when three overdose patients showed up at the hospital.

Those helping people overcome addiction are seeing a rise in opiate use that started years ago.

“What we are seeing here locally is a significant increase opiate medication, prescription medication, which is leading to the heroin epidemic,” says Chris Hindbaugh, executive director of Addiction Treatment Services in Traverse City.

Use of opiate drugs, like heroin, has been on the rise for years…right under our noses.

“What we are seeing are folks that are using prescription medications that they’ve either been prescribed by their doctors or that they are using recreationally,” Hindbaugh says. “Once that opiate addiction kicks in, a suitable replacement for when that access to those opiates dry up is heroin.”

Hindbaugh say it’s a drug that’s even harder to shake

“You have had some success in recovery or if you detox and withdraw, but then relapse and you use the same amount that you had previous to your relapse, it can be fatal. What we are seeing a lot here locally are the injectibles. It can come in lots of different ways.”

With more ways to get the drug out there and fewer ways to get rid of it safely, he fears the epidemic will only grow.

“Folks aren’t necessarily starting recreationally with heroin,” Hindbaugh says. “It’s only to feed this opiate addiction, which is really the larger epidemic in the country.”

Arraignment for the suspects involved with the hospital overdoses are not yet scheduled.

State police are still investigating the suspicious death of a man in Boon Township.

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An investigation is underway after a series of drug overdoses this weekend in the Cadillac area.

Three people are in jail after overdoses were reported at Munson Healthcare Cadillac Hospital.

During that investigation, State Troopers found a man dead in a car.

Police are calling the death suspicious.

It all started when Cadillac Police reported two people suffered drug overdoses in the hospital.

They suspect opiates caused them.

While they were investigating, a third person was admitted, suffering from a similar overdose.

All three were treated and released, but two of them ended up being arrested by police from both the city department and the Traverse Narcotics Team (TNT) for violating parole and an unrelated outstanding warrant.

The investigation led them to arrest another man in Cherry Grove Township on drug charges.

At the same time, State Police and the Narcotics Team investigated a suspicious death in Boon Township in Wexford County.

They are calling the death suspicious, and the commander of TNT says the death could be drug-related.

The executive director of Addiction Treatment Services in Traverse City says the rising problem of opiates, like heroin, in Northern Michigan could be to blame.

“What we are seeing here locally is a significant increase in opiate medication, prescription medication, which is leading to the heroin epidemic,” says Chris Hindbaugh from Addiction Treatment Services. “Heroin is an opiate illegally manufactured but it is serving as a very cheap alternative replacement drug for an opiate addiction.”

Arraignment for the suspects involved with the hospital overdoses are not yet scheduled

State Police are still investigating the suspicious death of the man in Boon Township.