Addressing the Opioid Epidemic

In early January, after the Mental Health and Substance Use workgroup published its Detox Protocol Guide, the group began to review—at the request of  Adreanne Waller and Marcia Scalera at the Washtenaw County Health Department—the county’s opiate use, existing treatment services, and overdoses. The review specifically focused on the cause and impact of increased overdose cases at emergency departments.

Preventing opioid deaths would be a key focus of the WHI in the years to come. After the group’s evaluation of opiate use in Washtenaw County, the Mental Health and Substance Use workgroup created the Opioid Project. This project would work in five key areas: provider education, naloxone access, substance abuse treatment protocols, community engagement, and primary prevention among youth. The goal: Reducing the loss of life due to preventable overdoses.