If you're struggling with heroin or pain pill addiction in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, you're not alone. We review where to get help, and the different types of help available.
Like many communities in our country, communities in Northern Michigan are facing a recent increase in heroin and pain pill use. As you may have heard, there are more opioid prescriptions than people in Michigan and the vast majority of those prescriptions are given to Michiganders up north.
In fact, since 2009, Iron County in the U.P. has seen an 87% increase in pain pill prescriptions. Iosco and Arenac counties in the northern L.P. are close behind with a 58% and 56% increase in prescriptions respectably.
Northern Michigan also leads the state in overdose deaths. Benzie County led Michigan counties in 2015 with 2.9 OD deaths per 10,000 residents with Antrim and Crawford counties coming in tied for second with 2.2 OD deaths per 10,000 residents.
These grim statistics underline the problems facing Northern Michigan in regards to heroin and pain pills. However, there is hope. In Grand Traverse County, fatal overdoses dropped almost 50% between 2016 and 2017, largely do to an increase in access to naloxone, the drug that can reverse suspected overdose in opioid emergencies.
We at Workit Health have compiled a list of resources and services for patients and families in Northern Michigan. This list isn't meant to be comprehensive, and we'd love to add it it if you know of any other resources. Add them in the comments!
Remember, struggling with pain pill or heroin addiction (medically referred to as Opioid Use Disorder, or OUD) is tough, but you are tougher. You can make it through this.
Here are some resources and services available:
Naloxone in Northern Michigan
Fortunately, there are many places to get the life-saving drug naloxone. If you are in or near Traverse City, you can head to Harm Reduction Michigan on West Front St or Addiction Treatment Services on S Garfield Ave to receive a free naloxone kit.
You can also get naloxone without a prescription from many Northern Michigan pharmacies. Click here for a map of pharmacies who carry naloxone. Narcan, which is a naloxone nasal spray, is available for $95 for those without insurance at CVS pharmacies and costs about $130 in cash elsewhere. You can also get injectable naloxone for about $40 and purchase a nasal adapter (~$10) to turn the syringe into a nasal spray.
Methadone Clinics in Northern Michigan
Methadone is the oldest drug approved to treat heroin or pain pill addiction. Because it is considered a Controlled Substance by the federal government, you can only get methadone at approved clinics where you come in daily to take your medication. Methadone clinics in Northern Michigan include Northern Michigan Substance Abuse Services, Inc. in Gaylord, Michigan Therapeutic Consultants, PC in Gaylord and Mt. Pleasant, and Victory Clinical Services in Saginaw. SAMHSA regulates methadone providers, and keeps a directory of all methadone providers (called opioid treatment programs) in Michigan.
Suboxone Doctors in Northern Michigan
Visiting a methadone clinic daily may not be the best option for everyone, especially those who work. Buprenorphine (brand names: Suboxone, Zubsolv, Subutex) also effectively treats opioid use disorder and can be prescribed to you to take at home. Learn more about how Suboxone treats opioid addiction.
Even though it can be taken from home, Suboxone is also a Controlled Substance that is regulated by the government. In order to prescribe it, a doctor, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant must first obtain the DATA 2000 waiver from the US Drug Enforcement Agency. To find a waivered provider in your ZIP code, you can go to www.suboxone.com.
We at Workit Health offer online therapy and telehealth Suboxone treatment for opioid addiction. Just come down to our clinic in Ann Arbor once to get your prescription and then continue to see your provider online. It’s as easy as Traverse City cherry pie!
Substance Use Counseling in Northern Michigan
Your chances of beating addiction are greatly improved by combining medication with behavioral health services such as group or one-on-one counseling and cognitive-behavioral therapy provided by a social worker, clinical psychologist, or other counselor. The provider treating you may also provide these behavioral health services but if they do not, Workit Health offers evidence-based online counseling and coaching to help you beat addiction.
With Workit Health's online opioid addiction program, you get a dedicated recovery coach, access to engaging online courses to help you manage cravings, handle emotions without drugs, and learn skills like mindfulness. If you would rather receive counseling in-person, click here to find a listing of mental health professionals, including those who treat addiction, in Northern Michigan.
Why waitlist? Workit Health's Suboxone program is accepting new patients in Michigan.
Ali Safawi is a humble intern with big dreams of connecting communities and institutions to tackle addiction.