Michigan Opioid Problem: Escanaba Finding Needles on the Streets
Governor Snyder has appointed a panel to tackle Michigan's opioid abuse problem. Click here to get the full story.
Maybe this time they will get it right. For years, we have heard Marijuana is the gateway drug. Over the past few years, it has become clear the gateway to heroin is through prescription painkillers. Vicodin and Oxycontin to be specific. Doctors have prescribed Oxycontin for something as trivial as a toothache.
One story from a few years ago, a well established professional was prescribed Oxycontin for a backache. He got so addicted to the stuff, he broke into a pharmacy and called the police on himself, from the pharmacy. "I think I have a problem."
A friend of mine was mixed up in Oxycontin and eventually graduated to heroin. His body was found along the side of I-96 in Detroit. He had a baby girl who wasn't even a year old. I spoke at his funeral and am still very much haunted by this.
The Legislature has its own plans to slow the problem, the biggest push so far being a $2.5 million overhaul of the state’s prescription tracking database. Supporters of the overhaul say a big part of the problem is unreliable prescription stats for doctors. The laws also could make it easier for family members to get drugs that could rescue someone overdosing.
In the Upper Peninsula, Escanaba: Officials say the opioid abuse is such a problem, they are finding needles on the streets.