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The number of opioid deaths in Michigan rose from 622 in 2011 to 1,689 in 2016, according to statistics released today by Chief Medical Office Eden WELLS to the House Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee.

In quantifying what she described as easily being an epidemic as defined by the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), Wells and Dr. Debra PINALS, the state’s medical director for behavior health, outlined the following:

– Opioid prescriptions have increased from 10,441,714 in 2011 to 11,028,495 in 2016

– Neonatal abstinence syndrome cases have gone from 630 to 927 in 2015

– People in substance use disorder treatment for opioids and heroin when from 22,234 to 32,473

– Drug poisoning deaths by opioids went from about 20 percent in 1999 to 72 percent in 2016.

The announcement of the statistics came hours after the House Health Policy Committee moved to the full House legislation designed to curb the opioid epidemic.

SB 0166 and SB 0167 make sure doctors who prescribe Schedule 2 through Schedule 5 controlled substances consult the Michigan Automated Prescription System, or MAPS, prior to doing so.  Also moving to the House floor is SB 0047, SB 0270, SB 0273 and SB 0274, which limit the amount of opioids that can be prescribed for pain, require patients be given information on opioids and limit the prescriptions of opioids to doctors and patients with a “bona fide” relationship.

(MIRS)