Advance Notice: Briefs

Gov.’s office announces $5M in opioid crisis grant funding

By: - June 18, 2019 2:56 pm

Sign on the Ogemaw County Courthouse | Susan J. Demas

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office on Monday announced $5 million in grant money meant to help stem the opioid addiction crisis in Michigan.

The money will go toward planning, training and treatment for addiction, according to Whitmer’s office, which said the number of deaths related to opioid overdoses has more than tripled since 2011.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at the Mackinac Policy Conference, May 29, 2019 | Andrew Roth

“If we’re going to tackle the opioid crisis and get Michigan families on track to recovery, we need to build strong partnerships between state government, philanthropy, and the medical community,” Whitmer said in a statement. “I’m grateful for this partnership and am ready to work with this team and everyone else who wants to reduce opioid deaths here in Michigan.”

Opioid prescriptions have meanwhile declined since the state adopted an opioid prescription tracking database, according to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

The number of opioid prescriptions fell by 15% from 2017 to 2018, according to LARA. Whitmer credited the tracking database, called the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS).

“MAPS has played a critical role in both combating the opioid epidemic here in Michigan and in ensuring patients who need prescription drugs have access to them,” Whitmer said in another statement Tuesday.

The generic prescription pain medication Buprenorphine is seen in a pharmacy on February 4, 2014 in Boca Raton, Florida. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The $5 million grant money announced Monday does not come from the separate $10 million awarded by Bloomberg Philanthropies to combat opioid overdose deaths in Michigan, according to Chelsea Lewis, a spokeswoman for Whitmer.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced in April it would award another $1.8 million to fight “workforce impacts” of opioid addiction in Michigan.

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Michael Gerstein
Michael Gerstein

Michael Gerstein is a former Advance reporter covering the Governor's office, criminal justice and the environment.