Businesses working around fouled water issues to keep doors open in troubled Flint

FLINT, Mich. — “We have to be especially careful in the methods we use to prepare our food since we essentially can’t use the city’s water anymore,” said Banana Boat employee Shayla Burnett. That’s the situation in Flint, Michigan, which was placed under a state of emergency on December 14, 2015 as reaction to the elevated levels of lead in the city’s drinking water. Local restaurants and the Genesee Health Department are responsible for creating methods the city’s restaurants can use to remain open until a long-term resolution is complete. “We have water filters on each faucet, if someone orders water with their meal, we only give out bottled water.

Cold-pressed juicing trend makes its way to Michigan

DETROIT — Gen-X consumers have shown a considerable interest in healthy eating, according to a USA Today survey. Young consumers are more conscious of food ingredients, GMOs and whether or not their food is organic than their older counterparts. As a result, fast food businesses are on the decline and alternative quick-yet-healthier options are rising, even in the Detroit area. One oldie-but-goodie trend in the health food sphere that continues to flourish is juicing. In the past, cold-pressed juice was mostly limited to urban, trendy cities in the U.S. However, today it is a common pick-me-up for the average middle-class working man or woman due to its increasing popularity and availability.

Michigan not immune to opioid epedemic

FLINT, Mich. — There is currently an opioid epidemic happening in our area and across the nation. Opioid use continues to be on the rise. There has been an increase in overdose deaths related to heroin laced with fentanyl or carfentinal (animal tranquilizer),” said Kim Shewmaker, Director of Programs Operations for Flint, Michigan’s Odyssey House drug and alcohol treatment center. Michigan resident Aaron Emerson knows the struggles of battling a heroin addiction.

Heroin epidemic impacts all walks of life

When Clinton County Sheriff Larry Jerue began his career in law enforcement in the late 1970’s heroin had purity between 1.5 to 5 percent. Now it hovers around 35. “Back then heroin was an inner-city drug. Now it knows no socio background. It is hitting the suburbs and the small communities like a tidal wave,” said Jerue.

How many is too many? Lansing’s abundance of medical marijuana dispensaries worries some residents

Dispensary owners and Lansing residents have been disputing a recent medical marijuana ordinance during biweekly City Council meetings. Some people in Lansing believe the flooded medical marijuana market results from poor marijuana dispensary regulations. “The purpose of the ordinance is to have realistic dispensaries available to people that really have a medical marijuana need,” said Marylin Ebaugh, resident of South Lansing. “What we have now is an over abundance of businesses.” A study conducted by Melissa Huber, Ph.D, estimates the number of patients spiked from 937 in 2011, to 2,866 in 2015. Some believe the process to obtain a medical marijuana card can be easily abused.

Little Miss Flint: The face of a community coping with crisis

FLINT, Mich. — A small city about 70 miles northwest of Detroit was thrust into mainstream media when it was revealed that residents water was tainted with lead and other contaminates dating back to 2014, when the city attempted to cut budgets, resulting in changing the water source from Detroit, to the Flint River. The water crisis has changed the lives of all city residents, but others say the crisis was a call to action. From public speaking and advocating to bringing awareness to the daily struggles of living with poisoned water, Flint resident Mari Copeny, 10, has become a social media sensation, making her the face,of her hometown and earning her the nickname, Little Miss Flint. “We have been advocating for all of the residents of Flint, but mostly for the kids.

Michigan cracks down on prescription drug overdose with updated monitoring system

About eighteen thousand people die every year because of prescription drug overdose but with Michigan’s improved way to keep track of patients prescriptions it is predicted for overdose and abuse to decline. “Maps is the collection of controlled medication that patients get  the state collects them in a file  so that a doctor or pharmacist can see how much did they get when they got it,” said pharmacist from Knight Drugs Polly Cove. 

Maps helps to make sure patients aren’t taking too much of one medication, duplicating medications or seeing more than one doctor and having them not know about each other. Drugs that are painkillers like morphine and oxycodone are usually what doctors and pharmacists check for when using the MAPS system. 

“Sometimes as a pharmacist my job ends up being drug police,” said Cove. “I have to be the tattle tale that has to call and let the doctor know that the patient is not being straightforward.” The maps collection system has been around for 10 years, but the new system is much faster. What used to take up to 5 minutes now can be seen in the instant click of a button.

Spring showers bring May flowers — and allergies for many of us

Springtime in Michigan exhibits an abundance of sunshine and rising temperatures. Adults begin to tend their gardens and flowers, soccer fields are filled with joyful cheers of children and college students begin working on their tans or are studying for final exams outside. But, some of them are forced to stay inside, balled up in bed with half-used tissues crumpled on the side table. Spring allergies vary depending on your location, but Michigan is among the worst states for people who suffer from seasonal allergies, says Dr. Richard Kustasz, a family medicine doctor at Olin Health Center, located on Michigan State’s campus. “Because Michigan has four regular seasons, allergies become more concentrated in those times of the year,” Kustasz said.

Earning only the minimum wage linked to health declines

With graduation rapidly approaching colleges across the United States, a new wave of potential employees are hitting the open market, eager to jump on the next opportunity in their professional careers. Unfortunately, some of those wide-eyed alumni won’t be finding jobs in the field they set out for, at least not yet. Nor will those who drop out of high school, as they’ll be making about 65 percent of what college graduates make. For the ones who decided college wasn’t for them, but earned their high school diploma –– they’ll get 80 percent. College students who don’t make it into their desired field right away often resort to taking minimum wage jobs to start the payback of student loans or to have some extra spending money.

Stress, anxiety peak with finals week on campuses

Dr. Richard Kustasz, a family medicine doctor at Olin Health Center located on Michigan State University’s campus, regularly sees around 40-45 college students come through his exam room door every day he works. The reason for visits often varies by the time of the year. More students with cold and flu-like symptoms come in during the late fall and winter and students with allergy symptoms in the spring. But two times in the year –– once in early December and again in late April –– Kustasz sees a large influx in symptoms related to final exams.

“Every time spring rolls around, the office gets more people with allergies and asthma, but it also gets a large increase in students with symptoms of stress and anxiety with finals coming up,”  Kustasz said. It’s no wonder why the American Institute of Stress calls stress “America’s leading health problem.” It can affect you in a number of ways, as it can cause visible physical symptoms such as headaches, insomnia and fatigue, as well as affect one’s mental health through anxiety and in severe cases, depression.