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Michigan Alcohol and Drug Abuse Problems

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) conducts public health surveillance in order to understand and predict problems among the people, young and old, of the state of Michigan. Together with information from other agencies such as the Bureau of Disease Control, Prevention, and Epidemiology, MDHHS develops programs and strategies to increase resources aimed at curbing problems with addiction and abuse of these substances.

Excessive drinking of alcohol can lead to increased incidence of many health issues including liver disease, addiction and accidental injuries for the drinker and others. Use of alcohol by underage drinkers is positively linked to risky decisions regarding sexual behaviors. Studies also show that protective behaviors such as condom use are negatively affected. Other problem behaviors can also be statistically predicted. Poor judgement, peer selection and school performance are noted in association with early alcohol use along with exposure to other high risk behaviors.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) is a national survey conducted annually by the University of Michigan in partnership the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in Washington D.C. The most recent survey found that lifetime recreational drug use in Michigan residents is at record levels and, in nearly every category of drug and alcohol use, Michigan exceeds national averages.

The survey found that Michigan drug overdose deaths are up 14%, claiming the lives of 1,745 residents, making drug poisoning the number on cause of injury related deaths that year according the MDHHS.

One problem that isn't specific to Michigan, but is helping to drive these totals is that heroin used today is often boosted in potency by synthetic additives. Additives such as fentanyl and now, carfentanil can increase the potency of heroin dangerously. Fentanyl is said to be 50 to 100 times more powerful that morphine. But carfentanil, also known as 'elephant heroin', is 100 to 1000 times more potent that fentanyl, 10,000 times the strength of morphine. The heroin addict takes his life in his or her hands every time they use the drug because the potency could be much higher or lower every time.

There is no one in the state that isn't affected by this trend; every strata of Michigan life is touched directly or indirectly by the drug and alcohol problems we face.

Illicit Drug Use in the Past Month among Persons Aged 12 or Older in Michigan, by Substate Region: Percentages, Annual Averages Based on 2010, 2011, and 2012 NSDUHs (Source: SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, National Survey on Drug Use and Health)

Of the 5,734 persons in prison for drug offenses in Michigan, 4,019 were convicted of offenses involving 50 grams or less of drugs, in 2001.

Michigan State Government Agencies

Drug Abuse Facts

Drug Abuse Information

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