May 16, 2016, Canton, MI - The Canton Police and Fire Departments have joined forces with local community health organizations and Growth Works, Inc., to address Canton’s slice of the nationwide opioid abuse epidemic. Opioids are a class of drugs derived from the opium poppy, including morphine, codeine and heroin; they also include synthetics like oxycodone, hydrocodone and the extremely potent fentanyl.
Earlier this year, Public Safety officials noted a remarkable increase in the number of reported overdoses involving opioid drugs. In 2015, Canton Police & Fire responded to 23 overdoses, with 7 resulting in death. This year to-date, the departments have responded to 24 overdoses, with 4 resulting in death. Of the 47 total overdoses since January 2015, 66% of the individuals fall into the age bracket of 18-30 years old.
“The increase in runs Canton Public Safety is responding to for individuals experiencing a drug overdose is alarming, and unfortunately, aligns with the upward trend being experienced throughout the state and nation,” says Public Safety Director Joshua Meier.
Nationwide, heroin overdose deaths have tripled from 2010 to 2013, according to federal prosecutors—and the number of deaths from all drug overdoses exceeded 43,000 individuals in 2014.
The intent of Canton’s newly formed partnership is to attack drug abuse/addiction in the community with a two-pronged approach: The police and fire departments will continue providing their respective services to the community including educational programs, prosecution of drug offenses, and treatment for overdose patients. The second prong comes in with the new partnership aimed at securing resources for proactive approaches toward reducing drug use and abuse in Canton.
Growth Works, Inc., was recruited to into the partnership as a valuable resource for addicts seeking help. Growth Works, Inc., is a private, non-profit organization serving youth and families in the Western Wayne County since 1971. The agency provides innovative chemical dependency and substance abuse programs for addicts and recovering addicts. Growth Works, Inc., can be reached at 734/495-1722. The agency is also a valuable assistance resource for individuals impacted by a friend or loved-one’s addiction.
“Opioid abuse has no socio or economic boundaries—addicts are not just street people or junkies—they can be your friends, co-workers or relatives, and their addiction usually results in tragedy for those around them,” says Deputy Police Chief Debra Newsome.
Tips regarding the distribution of illegal drugs are accepted by the Canton Police Department via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone to 734/394-5400. Tips can also be submitted through Crime Stoppers of Michigan by calling 1-800-SPEAK-UP, or by texting CSM and your tip, to 274637 (CRIMES). All tips are investigated by the department, and tipsters can be anonymous/confidential.
“We realize setting a goal to reduce drug abuse is a daunting task, but as a Public Safety Department we feel empowered to gather our resources and make our best attempt for the sake of the community members,” says Meier.
“If we can save one person from a life of self-destruction, the partnership will be a success—especially to the family of that one particular individual,” Meier adds.