Report details hardest hit Michigan areas for opioid use, drug overdoses

Detroit, Grand Rapids had most drug-related overdose deaths


A new report offers a look inside Michigan's opioid addiction crisis.

A statewide assessment, completed by the Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) and Appriss Health, details opioid use and drug overdose trends in Michigan.

“The opioid epidemic is a public health crisis that has affected every community in Michigan,” said LARA Director Shelly Edgerton. “Collaborating with our technology partners at Appriss Health has helped us aggregate individual and community-level challenges of the opioid epidemic to anticipate current and future statewide trends.”

Related: Michigan has one of the largest populations of homeless students in US

Some of the key findings of the report were:

  • There were 30 percent more drug-related overdose deaths in 2015 than in 2013. 
  • From 2013 to 2015, the largest number of drug-related overdose deaths occurred among men aged 26-35 and men aged 46-55. 
  • From 2013 to 2015, among women, the largest number of drug related overdose deaths were in the 46-55 age group. 

The assessment will be presented to the Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Commission (PDOAC) at their meeting on April 12. Here's more on the report:

Opioid related drug overdose deaths in Michigan

According to the report, Lincoln Park and Ecorse had the highest drug-related death rates between 2013 and 2015, while Detroit and Grand Rapids had the most drug-related deaths.

Top 10 Michigan cities by drug-related overdose death rate (2013-2015):

  • Lincoln Park (3.2 deaths per 1,000 patients; 97 total deaths)
  • Ecorse (3.1; 23 total deaths)
  • New Baltimore (3.1; 33 total deaths)
  • Romulus (2.8; 65 total deaths)
  • Wyandotte (2.7; 55 total deaths)
  • Woodhaven (2.6; 25 total deaths)
  • Roseville (2.6; 92 total deaths)
  • Flat Rock (2.5; 34 total deaths)
  • Southgate (2.5; 58 total deaths)
  • Wayne (2.4; 37 total deaths)
  • Mount Clemens (2.3; 29 total deaths)

Top 10 Michigan cities by number of drug-related overdose deaths (2013-2015):

  • Detroit (447 total deaths)
  • Grand Rapids (138)
  • Westland (133)
  • Warren (131)
  • Lansing (123)
  • Taylor (104)
  • Ypsilanti (103)
  • Lincoln Park (97)
  • Roseville (92)
  • Flint (84)
  • Battle Creek (79)

In Detroit, overdose deaths have increased every year, from 88 deaths in 2013, to 102 deaths in 2014 and 140 deaths in 2015.

Overdoses by drug type in Michigan

According to the report, 75.7 percent of drug-related overdose deaths are associated with narcotic drugs. 65.8 percent are associated with sedative drugs.

The controlled substances with the highest death rates are those for buprenorphine MAT, neuropain and sedatives. Buprenorphine MAT and methadone have the highest drug-related overdose death rates, despite few patients using those drugs.

Related: Opioid Nation: How did we get to this American epidemic?

Among patients whose first narcotic prescriptions were written between 2014 and 2015, those who died of a drug overdose were prescribed narcotics for only eight months prior to death, on average.

Where are Michiganders getting drugs?

According to the report, 59 percent of prescribers are in primary care. Nine percent of narcotic prescriptions are written by pain management prescribers.

Fifteen percent of sedative prescriptions are written by psychiatry prescribers. 

“This assessment, along with other data science collaborations underway, demonstrate the aggressive commitment of our partners in Michigan to impact the opioid crisis,” said Rob Cohen, president of Appriss Health. “Together, Appriss Health and Michigan share a common strategy in the fight against the scourge of the opioid epidemic – to best leverage AI and machine learning as well as the PDMP (MAPS) to provide the necessary framework and utility to enable data and analytically advanced insights to be made available up front, for every patient, every time. This strategy includes the automated delivery of a series of validated, numerical risk scores as well as one-click access to a PDMP (MAPS) platform that provides enhanced data visualizations, red flags, alerts, patient management tools and more within clinical workflow.”

Check out the full report below:

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