Curtailing the opioid crisis

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – Every 2.7 days, a resident of Kent County dies as the result of an overdose of opioids, other prescription pain medication or illicit drugs. Spectrum Health is helping to address and curtail this crisis.

Here to talk about the local efforts are Spectrum Health’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Tina Freese Decker and Vice President of Spectrum Health Healthier Communities, Dr. Ken Fawcett.

>>> Take a look in the video above.

Opioids and other drugs are hurting our community. They aren’t just hurting those who misuse them, but also their families and loved ones and the community as a whole. While work is being done around this issue now, Spectrum Health feels strongly about helping to connect the various players and coordinate the efforts. Spectrum is meeting with key people from Saint Mary’s and Metro Health and will also be working with area doctors, law enforcement officials, schools, support groups and others.

Removing these drugs, particularly opioids, from the community is only the first step. Through these partnerships, they are aiming for legislative solutions, community education and greater access to treatment and support for patients and their families and loved ones.

Their approach:

3 R’s: Remove, Recover and Revive.

  • Removing the drugs through things like prescription drug take-back events and reducing the number and duration of prescriptions supplied to patients.
  • Helping with recovery by encouraging treatment and therapy programs and providing access to medications that can help ease withdrawal.
  • Revive the community by partnering with groups like the GR Red Project and Families Against Narcotics to educate and support patients and families.

This weekend citizens have the opportunity to forfeit any unexpired or unwanted medications with no questions asked. Spectrum Health is hosting a site at Grand Rapids Parent University on Fuller Street NE in Grand Rapids. They are teaming up with GRPD for this event. Law enforcement will be on hand to make sure the drugs are properly secured and handed over to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, which sponsors a Take Back event twice each year.

It is one of many take-back events happening on Saturday here and across the country, including other ones sponsored locally by Metro Health and Saint Mary’s and by law enforcement agencies.

The event provides an opportunity for the community to safely and anonymously drop off medications. Those interested in learning more about hazardous materials or medication misuse are welcome to connect with staff we will have on hand providing education,

National Prescription Drug Take Back Event is 10am – 2pm this Saturday, October 28.

Grand Rapids Parent University
1400 Fuller Ave. NE Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids Police Department
1 Monroe Center NW
Grand Rapids

Go to www.dea.gov for additional locations