In a recent article on the findings of the Washington Post and the DEA database, it was noted that there were 26 opioid (hydrocodone and oxycodone) pills per person, per year prescribed in Livingston County from 2006-2012. As alarming as those numbers are, they don’t tell the whole story.
According to the 2017-18 MiPHY (Michigan Profile for Healthy Youth, survey of students in grades, 7,9, and 11), 96 percent of Livingston County youth have not used prescription medication that was not prescribed to them in the past month, and 77 percent of students believe that using prescription drugs that are not prescribed to them has a moderate or great risk. (2017-2018 MiPHY)
Did you know that 100 percent of our local law enforcement agencies offer free, safe, no-questions-asked medication disposal through the Big Red Barrel, which has collected 1,700 pounds of pills since October 2018? Every Michigan State Police Post has a Big Red Barrel.
What do those numbers tell us?
Our youth are understanding and developing a healthy mindset regarding this issue as we continue to work hard to educate them on the risks of misusing prescription medications. Further, our community has embraced proper medicine disposal to help keep medications out of the wrong hands. It’s also worth noting that the opioid reversal drug, naloxone, is now being carried by first responders and law enforcement. At the end of this month, survivors, family members, and supporters will gather to recognize International Opioid Day.
Do you want to be able to help continue to build on these positive activities? Join the Livingston County Community Alliance and help us to increase community collaboration and prevent and reduce substance use/abuse. We are working together for a drug-free community and you can too. Check out https://livingstoncountycommunityalliance.org/ for more information and ways to get involved in your community. We are more than a collection of statistics, and together we are making a difference. Join us and be part of the solution.
Megan Palmer is coordinator of the Livingston County Community Alliance. For further information, contact her at (517) 545-5944 or firstname.lastname@example.org.