Great Lakes Recovery Center sees increase of patients reporting fentanyl addiction

This despite preliminary CDC data showing a slight decrease in overdose deaths in the US from 2021 to 2022.
Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 6:31 PM EST
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Great Lakes Recovery Centers (GLRC) offers a variety of services to those struggling with drug addiction.

GLRC has 10 offices across nine U.P. counties providing outpatient services and more locations for residential and recovery programs.

“At Great Lakes Recovery Center, we have services ranging from residential treatment facilities for adolescents and adults, to recovery houses, to integrated care with our outpatient substance use counseling,” GLRC Outpatient Director Amy Rynn said.

Those receiving outpatient care live on their own, outside of a treatment facility. They travel to a GLRC office for regular appointments.

Rynn explained that over the past two years, she has seen an increase in outpatients reporting a fentanyl addiction.

“We are seeing a rise in fentanyl use that is affecting our communities in the U.P.,” Rynn noted. “There’s a noticeable increase in clients coming into Great Lakes Recovery Centers for substance use services who are reporting an addiction to fentanyl.”

Despite GLRC’s concern about rising fentanyl addiction across Upper Michigan, preliminary data from the CDC released Wednesday shows a slight decrease in overdose deaths in the U.S. from 2021 to 2022. The CDC’s data shows that numbers are down from 107,640 overdose deaths in 2021, to 107,600 this year.

This slight decrease does not mean GLRC is no longer concerned about the drug. Rynn explained that fentanyl poses a more serious risk of overdose than most other opioids, especially as it becomes more common.

“The way fentanyl differs from other opioids is that it’s a synthetic drug and has a stronger potency,” Rynn said. “The difference between the amount of fentanyl that can get you high and the amount that can lead to an overdose is very small.”

Additionally, many who struggle with drug addiction may not even know they are using fentanyl. Rynn added that this is because illegal drug dealers can mix it in with other drugs they are distributing.

“Many times opioids and other drugs including meth are being laced with fentanyl without a person knowing,” Rynn said.

This makes battling fentanyl even more difficult. Rynn added that there is not a clear solution to ending fentanyl addiction and overdoses.

Rynn said she hopes people struggling with addiction seek help before it’s too late.

“It’s important to know that there are treatment options right here in the U.P.,” Rynn explained.

While meth remains the primary drug of concern for many U.P. law enforcement agencies, fentanyl’s lethality is leaving treatment centers and law enforcement questioning how to deal with it--especially as the drug becomes more common in Upper Michigan.

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug addiction, Rynn urges you to reach out to the GLRC Access Center at (906) 228-9696.

To read part two of this three-part series on fentanyl’s impacts on Upper Michigan, you can do so by clicking here.

You can read part one by clicking here.