Opioids are a class of drugs that include pain relievers available legally with a prescription and illegal drugs like heroin and fentanyl. Prescription opioids, such as oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), and morphine, can be prescribed by doctors to treat moderate to severe pain. When used appropriately, prescription opioids can be an important component of treatment. However, there are serious risks to using prescription opioids including misuse, abuse, opioid use disorder, overdose, and death. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain reliever that is many times more powerful than other opioids and is approved for treating severe pain, typically advanced cancer pain. However, illegally made and distributed fentanyl has been on the rise in the United States, including in Macomb County. Another illegal opioid is heroin. Heroin abuse has also increased throughout the United States among men and women, most age groups, and all income levels.
Opioids—prescription and illicit—are the main driver of drug overdose deaths. More than three out of five drug overdose deaths involve an opioid. In Macomb County specifically, there has been a rise in the number of drug-related deaths, particularly involving heroin, fentanyl, and controlled prescription drugs like Methadone, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Valium and Xanax which can be detected with toxicological analysis. Alcohol in combination with drugs can also be a contributory factor in these drug-related deaths.
Drug-related deaths have been increasing throughout the United States and in Macomb County specifically. It is vitally important to track the number of deaths so we can understand the depth of the problem in our county, to know what drugs are being used and abused, and who is being affected by the ongoing Opioid Crisis.
In addition to tracking the total number of drug-related deaths, it is important to track indicators and other health effects of drug use in the county. This includes the number of opioid prescriptions dispensed, opioid-related hospitalizations, and opioid-related deaths.
The Substance Use Division of the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services created the Substance Use Disorder Data Repository that tracks the number of prescription opioids, opioid-related hospitalizations, and opioid-related deaths throughout the state of Michigan at the county level.
Families Against Narcotics has ignited a program called OPERATION RX, which has made a huge impact in Macomb County. As a result of this effort FAN’s President, Linda Davis, was asked to join Governor Snyder’s opiate task force in an effort to design a state wide comprehensive program.
OPERATION RX is a comprehensive drug program designed to educate the community about addiction and the prescription drug epidemic, decrease the number of overdoses, reduce the number of narcotics being prescribed by doctors and dentists, eliminate left over drugs from the community and to educate the public about the importance of knowing their medications and not sharing them with others. We have partnered with four major hospitals, dentist, ER doctors, family physicians, EMS, police, schools, treatment facilities, mental health providers, the health department, senior facilities, hospice and business leaders to assure every sector is doing their part to eradicate addiction in our community.
As a result of this program it is our hopes to educate every citizen in Macomb County and eventually the state to understand the importance of talking to their doctor and asking for non-narcotics when appropriate, never sharing their medications, to take sparingly medications prescribed to them, to store them securely and to dispose of them properly. We are increasing disposal sites, making sure that all first responder vehicles are equipped with nalaxone, an antidote to reverse overdose. Our mission is to address addiction through prevention, intervention and treatment.
Operation Rx is a county wide initiative to prevent abuse, addiction and overdose of prescription narcotics.
Our main goals and objectives of this project are:
Saving lives by empowering individuals and communities to prevent and eradicate prescription drug and narcotic misuse and abuse.
A community free of narcotic misuse and addiction.
Create a broad community of stakeholders to develop and implement strategies to achieve the mission and vision.
Unused narcotics need to be properly disposed of. You can find a list of disposal sites on our web page.
Treatment for substance abuse is available at a variety of providers. Cost, insurance coverage, length of program and details are different for every facility and patient. You can find treatment centers on our web page.