Snyder and lawmakers looking to combat opioid epidemic

OxyContin pills are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder and a bipartisan group of lawmakers are introducing legislation to combat opioid abuse in Michigan.

Snyder said Thursday that the state has a huge problem with the number of prescriptions ordered that contain opioids. He says the number has grown from 180 million units in 2007 to 690 million in 2016.

The legislation would address several issues, including reworking the electronic database that tracks controlled substances and requiring more education about opioid abuse in schools. Doctors who over-prescribe would also face tougher punishments.  The bill would also provide more help to people who overdose.

However, Snyder says all Michigan residents need to step up to stop this deadly trend.

“Laws can help address problems and situations, but we need to change our basic behavior and support one another so we don’t see this addiction, this abuse happen. And so I encourage us to look at today as a positive day of good things that we’re doing to make Michigan a better place, to help our friends, our neighbors. our kids.. have opportunity,” Snyder said.

Snyder says that legislation is not enough but that the culture of opioid abuse must change.