Preview of Northern Michigan Opioid Epidemic: A Forum

The nationwide opioid epidemic is claiming more lives every single day as people search for an answer on how to stop it.

Wednesday night, Northern Michigan’s News Leader is joining forces to foster a discussion about the issue in our area.

We will hear from people involved in every aspect of this epidemic and find out steps they’re taking to try and tackle this growing problem.

“We now have more people dying of opioid overdose than traffic crashes,” said Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney.

Northern Michigan’s News Leader is joining forces to foster a discussion about the opioid issue in our area.

The nationwide opioid epidemic has challenged communities across Northern Michigan, including legal professionals like Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney.

“It was in 2012 that we first started seeing heroin cases in Grand Traverse County, we just simply didn’t see heroin before that,” said Cooney. “It’s good to see that the public is starting to understand how serious the problem is.”

Cooney credits increased access to overdose reversal drugs like naloxone, a new drug treatment court, and community-wide education as ways the area has started to take action.

“If we can get the root of the problem, if we can solve the addiction issues, then we’ve really accomplished something rather than the catch and release we’ve seen in the past,” explained Cooney.

Leelanau County recently launched a new coalition tasked with coming up with ideas to address the opioid epidemic.

“I think everybody knows someone that has been impacted by substance abuse, whether it’s a family member, a friend, a relative, and our county board said we needed to do something. This is not a political issue, a Republican or Democratic issue, we realize it’s having an impact here locally,” said Leelanau County administrator Chet Janik.

The CDC estimates that in a few years, we could be losing as many as 200 people a day to an opioid overdose. That statistic only underscores the importance of the discussion we are having Wednesday night.

You can watch Northern Michigan Opioid Epidemic: A Forum starting at 7 p.m. on 9&10 News at Local 32, or you can watch it live on our website by clicking here.