Opioid epidemic: Understanding addiction

In 2015, at the age of 16, a woman who uses the alias, Jillian Wahla, tried her first opioid. Less than one year later, Wahla found herself homeless, malnourished and addicted to the drug. “I got a few Vicodins after I had my wisdom teeth removed,” Wahla said. “It was the best my body had ever felt. I knew almost instantly I wanted to feel like that all the time.”
Wahla’s quest for opioids began as soon as her Vicodin prescription ran out. She was searching for relief regarding her undiagnosed cases of gastritis and fibromyalgia – a disorder that renders its afflicted with widespread psychosomatic body pains.

Alternative to opioids: Mail-in synthetics

As Michigan’s war on opioids rages along, legislation has passed in order to protect citizens from an unregulated alternative — imported synthetic opioids. U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Mich., is a sponsor of the recently passed Synthetic Trafficking and Opioid Prevention (STOP) Act of 2018 which aims to alleviate this once unseen problem. “We didn’t know about this before; now that we do know, we have the opportunity to stop it,” Bishop said. Bishop noted that these synthetic versions of opioids are not regulated and, in many cases, are much more potent than street drugs or even the hardest of prescribed painkillers. “The synthetic opioids out there are up to 500 times more powerful than regular doses of heroin,” said Bishop.

Alternative to opioids: Marijuana

The grips of the opioid crisis hold prevalent, and many citizens suffering from chronic pain are searching for a better option – could marijuana be the answer? For some, the thought of using one drug to replace another just doesn’t add up. Scott Greenlee, director of the Healthy and Productive Michigan initiative and former Michigan Republican Party vice chairman, spoke on his concerns with marijuana use. “Last time I checked, Michigan is still part of the United States and it [marijuana use] is against the law federally,” Greenlee said. “Just because some states have ignored that, I don’t believe Michigan should pick and choose which federal laws they’re going to start or stop following.”
For others, marijuana was a key factor in finding a path away from opioids.

New state laws aim to curb opioid addiction

In efforts to slow the spread of the ongoing opioid epidemic, Michigan legislators passed a 10-bill package in December of 2017 containing laws which went into effect on June 1st. “Opioid addiction is a major public health crisis,” U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) said. “It’s happening right now in our state, really the whole country, and the youth are also affected.”

Peters expressed hopefulness about the bill’s attempt to educate patients on the dangers of opioids and provide more information for adolescents. This 10-bill package lays out new guidelines for doctors on Michigan’s Automated Prescription System (MAPS), and holds them responsible for prescribing smaller doses and explaining all possible side effects. “This is another tool in the box to help the opioid epidemic,” Rep. Joseph Bellino (R) said.

Is the opioid crisis better or worse than the numbers show?

In the midst of the opioid epidemic, some citizens and professionals within the industry question the validity of current opioid statistics. “I don’t really think the numbers are adding up here,” Lansing local and current opioid user Savannah Berthiaume, 19, said. “It sure seems like any local politician can open their mouth and say some numbers about opioids to scare people. I think a lot of these claims are just an attempt to further demonize medicine.”

Doubt lingers over several heads throughout those in the opioid industry. Dr. Sherry Yafai, a classically trained emergency department physician, offers some advice on one element of potential confusion with the terminology.

Mason ice cream and candy store remains unfazed by technology

MASON — While data shows less and less people have time to go out shopping these days, family-owned ice cream and candy shops remain flourishing with customers and life. “Until they figure out a way to have a drone deliver a handcrafted chocolate malt, I think we’re going to be all right,” joked Shawn Sodman, owner of The Daily Scoop. Sodman and his wife Kathy have been owning and operating the ice cream parlor for seven years and offer a wide variety of ice cream, milkshakes, malts, sundaes and even grilled cheese. All of the ice cream and cheese is provided courtesy of the MSU Dairy Store. “Me and my softball team try to go to the Daily Scoop after every game,” said 11-year-old Samantha Bennett.