$16 million federal grant targets rural opioid addiction

By ISAAC CONSTANS
Capital News Service

LANSING — The state plans to use part of an incoming $16 million federal grant to help prevent and treat opioid addiction in underserved rural areas.

The money comes through the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016, which promised funds to all 50 states to fight the growing epidemic linked to prescription painkillers.

Michigan received the seventh-largest aid package. The state’s 1,980 opioid-related deaths in 2015 were also the seventh-highest mark in the country.

In addition to rural expansion of a program that offers medicine and other treatment to opioid addicts, known as Medication Assisted Treatment, University of Michigan opioid research funding will be enhanced. The state will also prioritize educating doctors on safe opioid prescription and addiction rehabilitation.

State officials said the grant will help them tackle the epidemic from all angles. Continue reading

More addicted babies born, go through withdrawal

By JASMINE WATTS
Capital News Service

LANSING— Babies who are born addicted to drugs are a growing problem in Michigan.

The disorder is called neonatal abstinence syndrome and it affects newborns whose mothers were addicted to opiate drugs while they were pregnant. The baby becomes addicted, along with the mother, to substances such as heroin, oxycodone or methadone.

The babies have symptoms of withdrawal that include excessive crying, seizures, trembling, poor feeding, diarrhea and sleep problems, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. And it’s not just a problem in urban areas.

“The opiate drug epidemic in northern Michigan is hurting babies and tearing families apart,” said John Keller, director of the Alpena/Montmorency Department of Health and Human Services. “We’re seeing it in the growing number of babies going to the neonatal intensive care unit with the symptoms and we’re seeing it in the growing caseloads in the courts and Children’s Protective Services.”
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More funding ahead for jail mental health projects

By STEPHANIE HERNANDEZ McGAVIN

Capital News Service

LANSING — Health and law enforcement professionals are increasingly recognizing the importance of innovative mental health jail diversion programs, working to implement them in their own counties with state and locally funds.

The Department of Health and Human Services will fund expansion of jail diversion efforts in January 2016 through Gov. Rick Snyder’s Mental Health Diversion Council. The program will award about $1.2 million in total to two new agency projects and current pilot projects.

Steven Mays, the diversion administrator at the department said, said this year’s program will be a little different from previous years’.
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Higher rents squeeze low income workers

By SIERRA RESOVSKY
Capital News Service

LANSING – Real estate experts across the state say the cost of renting a home is rising and the trend toward higher rent will only continue.

Recent economic turmoil has raised barriers when it comes to owning a home, sparking a surge in the rental market across the country. But what happens when wages and income level don’t line up with the rising cost of rent?

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition in Washington, D.C., one in four renters pays half of his or her income in rent.
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