Opioid abuse: What you can do

Michigan is facing an opioid epidemic

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 91 deaths due to opioid overdose each day in the United States and nearly 2,000 every year in Michigan. In fact, the CDC has declared that Michigan is facing an opioid epidemic.1

Understanding more about opioids and opioid abuse can help you be prepared and make a difference in the fight to end this crisis in our communities.

What are opioids?

Opioids include illegal drugs like heroin, as well as commonly prescribed painkillers like OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet.

What is opioid abuse?

People who take opioids can easily become dependent on them, which leads to overuse and misuse of the drug. Opioid abuse happens to people from all walks of life, and can happen very quickly. What begins as pain relief from a planned surgery or wisdom tooth removal, for instance, can end in the tragedy of an overdose.

What Priority Health is doing

At Priority Health, we’re partnering with our health care providers statewide to reduce opioid use and abuse among our local communities. Following CDC guidelines, we’re asking doctors and pharmacists to limit the number of opioids prescribed and the amount of medication within each prescription fill. We’re also asking them to prescribe non-opioid alternatives for pain relief, when possible.

But we also need your help to end opioid dependency in our communities.

What you can do:

  • When you are concerned about a possible overdose

An overdose can happen even if you’re taking an opioid as prescribed. That’s why we recommend having on-hand a drug that could potentially save a life in case of an overdose. Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, can restore breathing for 30 - 90 minutes in someone experiencing an opioid overdose, so emergency medical help can be notified. And it’s readily available.

If you or a loved one could benefit from having Narcan, speak with your provider or local pharmacist. You don’t need a prescription, and nearly 600 pharmacies state wide can prescribe and fill prescriptions for Narcan upon request.

  • If you need help with opioids

If you or a family member has concerns about opioid or substance overuse or misuse, contact our Behavioral Health team as soon as possible at 800.673.8043 to get the support you need.

We’ll help you explore options for treatment

Our trained Behavioral Health team members will receive your call, assess your immediate needs, and review your benefit eligibility for substance abuse treatment and/or medical management options.* We’ll help you find the appropriate level of care for your needs.

Your health and safety is important to us and we’re here to support you. We’re committed to addressing this opioid crisis head on, and together we can help those in Michigan get on the path to wellness.

*We are available Monday–Thursday 8 a.m.–5 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m.–5 p.m. and can access benefit information. After-hours clinicians will assist in crisis situations during evening and weekend hours, but will not have access to benefit information.

1 www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic