In Michigan, about five people die every day due to an opioid overdose.
During the coronavirus crisis, those numbers have been increasing.
Recent Michigan data and national media coverage suggest that opioid overdoses have increased during the pandemic. EMS responses from April to July 2020 were 22 percent higher than the same period during 2019.
Additionally, new data has shown that while opioid overdose mortality rates among white Michiganders have decreased overall during the past year by 5.1 percent, rates among Black residents have increased by nearly 20 percent.
For the past two years, the Community Foundation and the Michigan Opioid Partnership (MOP), a public-private funders collaborative designed to develop continuous care for those suffering from opioid use disorder, have received multiple grants from the State of Michigan.
These funds support a targeted effort to combat health disparities and implement projects to establish medication for opioid use disorder — an evidence-based method of treatment — in Michigan hospitals and jails.
Last month, the state awarded the Community Foundation an additional $7.5 million over two years to expand the MOP’s work and add new projects that complement its efforts in jails and hospitals.
In addition to the state funds, the Community Foundation also received funds from Vital Strategies, on behalf of Bloomberg Philanthropies, to dive deeper into the disparities in access to treatment, especially in the counties with the highest rates of overdoses.
Reducing cultural stigma surrounding opioid use disorder remains central to the MOP’s work.
Emergency room and jail staff don’t always recognize opioid use disorder as a chronic health condition, which can lead to barriers for those in need of treatment. Additionally, many hospitals and jails require technical assistance to deliver proper care and treatment for those with opioid use disorder.
More Michiganders than ever are receiving increased access to lifesaving, evidence-based treatment and care.