Police, parents combat rise in opiod drug deaths

Local men and woman are dying every day overdosing on heroin and prescription pills.

The opioid problem is spiraling out of control and now police and parents are working together -- hoping to find a solution.

The pain of losing their children to a drug overdose is still hard to comprehend.

"This is my Allison," said parent Mary Freeman. "She was 36 years old and 17 days when she passed.

"It is one of the most horrible things that you ever want to endure."

"Families are being destroyed and I think in our community we are tired and people want solutions," said Jeannie Richards, a parent who lost her child to an overdose.

These parents are using their pain to create change. They joined lawmakers and Law enforcement officials to participate in a symposium to find solutions to combat a growing drug epidemic in southeast Michigan.

"People thought the federal legislation that the president signed was a good start but not adequate we need to be watching our progress and have the next congress vote more resources and more funding," said Congressman Dave Trott (R-11th District).

Funding that officials say can go to work in Oakland County

"We had over about a two year period a 300 percent increase of overdoses of opioids in Oakland County and it mirrors what we're seeing nationwide," said Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard.

Bouchard says as efforts continue to find solutions, progress is being made.

"I went to legislature and got the ability to carry Narcan, which is an opiod interrupter," he said. "We saved at this point, 36 lives."

Many medical professionals are pushing for increased participation in the Michigan Automated Prescription System or MAPS which keeps track of all controlled substances dispensed by pharmacies.

If a doctor suspects abuse, they can use MAPS to see if a patient has multiple prescriptions for that same medication .

"Only 40 percent of physicians are registered to this," said Tony Foumia, a pharmacist. "And what it does, is really help identify who is filling what in terms of prescriptions."

One mother who lost her child to a drug overdose says she is encouraged by efforts to combat the epidemic but says there is so much more to be done.

Mary Freeman is calling for school districts to be more aggressive in teaching drug prevention and should start as early as pre-school.

"Once they get into junior high or high school this behavior has already happened," she said.

Two websites for Heroin Opiate Prevention Education: 




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