More people + more things to do = more 911 calls in Traverse City

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Although it may not be surprising, 911 calls increase during times of tourism peaks in this Northwest Michigan town (for example, the annual National Cherry Festival last week), but why is this? Jim Danek, a 911 dispatcher, says, “Calls increase due to the amount of alcohol consumed during the National Cherry Festival and around the Fourth of July holiday. Both for medical and behavior issues. Traffic collisions increase due to the increased number of vehicles on the roadways and add some really cool air shows to distract the drivers and it’s an obvious recipe for disaster.”

Danek worked a total of 40 hours of overtime during the National Cherry Festival week. He says, “There is hardly a shortage of overtime shifts available during the Cherry Festival.

JRN@MSU

Heroin epidemic continues to worsen in mid-Michigan

Heroin continues to destruct our nation’s cities across the map. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2014 to 2015, heroin overdose death rates have increased by 21 percent. Nearly 13,000 people died in 2015. Greater Lansing shows similar trends. Ingham County Health Department gathers information from a variety of sources to report its annual Opioid Surveillance.

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.

Like many places, mid-Michigan city bracing for summer crime

FLINT, Mich. — Summertime is crime time. And this Michigan city is no exception. “Research shows that there is an increase in crime during the summer, as opposed to the winter. One explanation for this is the warmer weather, which brings people out of their homes and into the streets,” University of Michigan, assistant professor of criminal justice Kimberly Bender said.

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.