$65k grant awarded to help fight opioid addiction

$65k grant awarded to help fight opioid addiction

$65,000 was given to one northern Michigan community coalition Friday morning in an effort to win the war against the opioid and prescription epidemic.

Substance Abuse Free Environment of northern Michigan, or SAFE, is one of nine coalitions throughout the state to receive the grant, which was made possible by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, The Michigan Health Endowment Fund, The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and The Superior Health Foundation.

20 opioid and heroin related deaths were reported across Antrim, Charlevoix, and Emmet Counties between 2010 and 2015.

SAFE hopes to reduce those numbers by using the money to reduce access to these drugs.

"So really that entails working with law enforcement and our pharmacies, supporting medication take-back programs, assisting pharmacies in adopting those policies and supporting the local pod-box initiative, sustaining that," said Nichole Flickema, Project Coordinator for SAFE of Northern Michigan. "And also working with our schools to adopt policies relevant to opioid and prescription drugs."

Emmet was among the counties that tallied with the highest number of opioids prescribed per person in 2015, according to BCBS of Michigan.

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