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Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley announces $16.37 million grant to combat opioid addiction
4/27/2017 1:00:00 PM - Court

By Joseph V. Sowmick, Photojournalist


On April 21, Michigan was awarded more than $16 million in federal funds to help reduce opioid use and abuse across the state.


Lt. Gov. Brian Calley has been a long-time supporter of health care initiative and is keenly aware of the impact that opioid addiction and made the announcement.


“The addiction epidemic continues to impact families in every community across our state and across this country,” Lt. Gov. Calley said.  “Michigan is making strides in the fight against addiction and this grant will help us bring those efforts to the next level, helping more families find the support they need to prevent and treat addiction.”


The funding was awarded to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services through the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grant administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) within the United States Department of Health and Human Services.


The STR grant will be used to promote prevention and increase access to treatment by funding State of Michigan initiatives, including: 1) the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS), 2) development of a statewide awareness campaign, 3) Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network (OPEN) research through the University of Michigan, 4) Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), 5) prevention services and strategies, 6) improving the availability of naloxone, 7) increasing peer supports, Tribal supports, and support of law enforcement, 8) providing a new model for re-entry services, 9) collaboration with university partners on re-entry, evaluation, and research opportunities.


Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Chief Frank Cloutier and Tribal Council indicated at their March 11 town hall meeting in Saganing that health care is a priority for their administration.

“We offer many services through the Tribe that can benefit from these resources and we are willing to embrace opportunities like this in the spirit of collaboration,” Cloutier said.  “Even at our Tribal Summit with Gov. Snyder last year, we were planting the seeds of combining resources and to bring all our Tribal departments on initiative like this.”


The Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS) is the prescription monitoring program for the State of Michigan. Prescription monitoring programs are used to identify and prevent drug diversion at the prescriber, pharmacy and patient levels by collecting Schedule 2-5 controlled substances prescriptions dispensed by pharmacies and practitioners. 


Collection of MAPS information allows physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician's assistants, podiatrists and veterinarians to query this data for patient-specific reports which allow a review of the patient's Schedules 2-5 controlled substance prescription records. This enables the practitioner to determine if patients are receiving controlled substances from other providers and to assist in the prevention of prescription drug abuse.

According to SAMSHA, Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is the use of medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies for the treatment of substance use disorders. A combination of medication and behavioral therapies is effective in the treatment of substance use disorders, and can help some people to sustain recovery.

The Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network (Michigan-OPEN) is an initiative to develop a novel preventative approach to the opioid epidemic in the state of Michigan. The vast majority of individuals who become dependent on prescription opioids receive their first dose following surgical care. Michigan OPEN aims to ensure appropriate acute pain care following surgery, while protecting patients and communities. 

From 1999 to 2014, Michigan saw a four-fold increase in unintentional fatal drug poisonings, and the state was ranked 10th in the nation in per capita prescribing rates of opioid pain relievers in 2012.


Calley led the Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Task Force in 2015, which issued recommendations to address the addiction epidemic. In 2016, Gov. Rick Snyder created the Michigan Drug and Opioid Abuse Commission to implement the task force’s recommendations to combat the opioid epidemic and ensure the health and safety of Michigan residents.


Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Court Judge Patrick Shannon serves on the Michigan Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Commission by appointment from Gov. Rick Snyder and welcomes the financial support.


“Access to treatment is something that can be crucial when dealing with the families who suffer from the pain associated with addiction.  With the SCIT/Isabella County Families Against Narcotics Chapter, we have heard many testimonies on how this has affected all families across the state,” Judge Shannon said. “Education and prevention is key, and to have Lt. Gov. Calley make that important announcement shows our decision makers in Washington are ready to put our resources where they need to be.”


Last month, Snyder and Calley joined with a bicameral and bipartisan group of legislators to announce next legislative steps in a primary prevention strategy to better monitor controlled substances and prevent addiction from occurring in the first place.


Dr. Debra Pinals, MDHHS chief psychiatrist, is a proponent of using mental health care and treatment best practices that are scientifically validated and recovery oriented.



“This is an excellent opportunity to address the rise of opioid use disorders in our state,” Dr. Pinals said. “Through this grant, we will strengthen our networks for prevention and treatment to reduce opioid-related deaths and make treatment more available for those who need it.”