Michigan Department of Health and Human Services launches substance use vulnerability index

The new index has identified Schoolcraft County as one of the most vulnerable counties in the state for substance abuse.
LMAS sign.
LMAS sign.(WLUC)
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 10:17 PM EST
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MANISTIQUE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has launched a new substance use vulnerability index created to help identify and solve substance use issues in the state.

Luce, Mackinac, Alger, and Schoolcraft (LMAS) Health Department Registered Nurse Monica Ericksen said one region of the U.P. has been identified among the most vulnerable to substance use. That region is Schoolcraft County.

“It ranks all of Michigan’s counties for vulnerability to substance-related issues and Schoolcraft County Is number four on the list,” Ericksen said. “So, we are in the top five, putting us at a very vulnerable ranking.”

Erickson expressed that the Michigan Department of Health based its rankings on access to substance use disorder care prevention and resources in each county. She said Schoolcraft County is number four due to a lack of access to resources and the county’s distance from treatment facilities. Erickson states that the LMAS is already working to address this issue.

“We do a lot of home business LNG initiatives to get that primary to prevent it,” said Ericksen. “We do naloxone training, narcan which is medication versus opioid overdoses. We train the community professionals, community groups, anybody that would be interested in that training.”

In addition, the MDHHS said it is seeking the help of lawmakers.

“Gov. Whitmer and our department have asked the legislature to work with us and invest in our kids by increasing the compacity of our behavioral health system,” said MDHHS opioids and emerging drugs Manager Rita Seith.

The MDHHS states that it will continue working to ensure everyone in Michigan has reliable access to healthcare in the future.