Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and regional U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade will speak later this month at a community conference about the opioid epidemic at Macomb Intermediate School District offices.
Calley, McQuade and a third speaker, Dr. R. Corey Waller, will talk about prevention, treatment and awareness strategies, among other aspects of problem at the Jan. 26 event at the MISD on Garfield Road in Clinton Township.
The event will be conducted by Operation Rx, Macomb County's community response to opioid overdoses and deaths.
"Opioid addiction has reached epidemic levels. We need to reeducate the community on why it's so dangerous," said Judge Linda Davis of 41-B District Court and Operation Rx chairwoman.
Operation Rx officials provided data to show the urgent nature of the problem of prescription drug and heroin addiction:
• In Macomb County, the number of drug deaths in 2014 was 270, with 106 related to heroin and 91 related to opiate pain medications, according to the county medical examiner.
• About 75 percent of opioid addicts switch to heroin as a cheaper opioid source, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
• Forty-four Americans die each day from prescription opioid overdoses, two deaths an hour, 17,000 annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Calley is chairman of the Michigan Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Task Force. McQuade, a Sterling Heights native, is U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, based in Detroit. Waller is a specialist in addiction, pain management and emergency medicine.
The event, scheduled for 1 to 4:30 p.m., is open to the public. Participants must register at misd.net or call (586) 228-3439.
Sponsors include Henry Ford Macomb Hospitals, county Office of Substance Abuse, MISD, and county Health Department.
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