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.

When locals speak: Top-rated restaurants in Lansing and what makes them finger-licking good

Between Google reviews, Trip Advisor, Yelp and more, it’s not hard to find out what people think about restaurants in the area, but if you ever find yourself wondering what’s good to eat in the Capitol City, a word from the locals might just help. Here, we explore four Lansing-based restaurants with 4.6 stars or higher on Google reviews to find out what makes people keep coming back for more. The restaurants include Naing Myanmar Family Restaurant, Meat BBQ, El Oasis, and Soup Spoon Cafe. See the images below to find out more about the restaurants and read what restaurant-goers had to say about them.

Michigan voters to consider green light for recreational marijuana

On April 26, the proposal pushing for a referendum on recreational marijuana was approved by a 4-0 vote. Michiganders will be able to vote on the measure during the November 6 Michigan ballot. “Adult use of cannabis is a human rights issue,” Jeffery Hank, Chair of the Board of Directors and Executive Director for MILegalize, an advocacy group for the proposal, said. “As we move towards more fairness, freedom, and justice in our cannabis policy, the public will benefit.”

Like many advocates for the passing of the proposal, Hank believes that the approval of recreational usage in Michigan can bring many jobs and decrease crime rate. “[It will] … end the unnecessary 23,000-plus arrests per year of adults in Michigan every year; a horrible waste of taxpayer resources and an affront to our constitutional liberties,” Hank said.

Meridian Township helps those in need

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 12 percent of Meridian Township residents are living below the poverty level. For those who are struggling, Meridian Township has many resources and programs for families in need. One is Meridian Cares. Darla Jackson is a human services specialist for the Meridian Cares program. Jackson helps families with finding shelter, covering utilities, rent to avoid eviction and even help with medications and furniture.

Some of the larger dogs trying to sniff out treats during the March 31, about 20 volunteers from the Ingham County Animal Shelter Fund's Easter egg hunt on March 31.

Dogs brave rough conditions to go on their own Easter egg hunt

It was a windy and rainy day at Hawk Island Park in Lansing, but dogs still showed up to hunt for some treats. On March 31, about 20 volunteers from the Ingham County Animal Shelter Fund spread 1,000 plastic eggs filled with grain-free treats across the grass, and dozens of dogs lined up to sniff them out. There were three separate sections for each size of dog. Once the announcer gave the go-ahead, they were off. Small, medium and large dogs sniffing the ground and occasionally coming across an egg with a prize inside.