Despite a need for additional resources in Lansing, Michigan, local residents have raised concerns about a potential addiction treatment center that could serve the community.
The organization Mid-Michigan Recovery Services (MMRS) is planning on converting the former Michigan School for the Blind into an inpatient addiction treatment center. The site is located in the Walnut Neighborhood of the state capital and would accommodate up to 14 patients with substance use disorders. Before renovations can begin, MMRS must obtain a special land use permit. A public hearing regarding the permit will be held in the near future.
However, more than 100 local residents signed a petition last month to prevent the facility from being built in the area.
While some residents argued that having one nearby addiction treatment center was enough, others raised concerns over school and public safety, as well as worries about crime rates.
An MMRS official stated that the concerns are valid and the stigmas associated with drug addiction will be hard to overcome in order to convince people the necessity of having such a resource.
This is not the first time a potential addiction treatment resource has received negative feedback from a surrounding community. Approximately 40 miles east of Lansing in Howell, a zoning permit for a sober living home caused a similar reaction. Numerous county and state health officials have commented on how more substance abuse treatment resources are needed in the Lansing area to curb the devastating effects of the opioid crisis.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s treatment locator, there are 19 providers that offer some form of addiction treatment within a 10-mile radius of Lansing. Yet, only two of them offer drug detoxification services.
The Sparrow Health System Department of Forensic Pathology recently released reports tracking the number of drug overdose deaths in the state.
Ingham County, where Lansing is located, experienced 101 drug-related deaths in 2017. Opioids were involved in nearly 80 of those overdose deaths. Fentanyl was the most common opioid found in toxicology reports, usually combined with other illicit substances.
Ingham County drug overdose rates due to fentanyl and other opioids to be on track and may even surpass those of previous years, according to data collected in the first half of 2018. So far, approximately 50 drug-related overdose cases have occurred in the county between January 1 and June 30, 2018.
While numerous healthcare and law enforcement representatives recognize the increasing presence of fentanyl in the area and its prominence in drug fatalities, many have stated that there is no clear solution to the problem.
However, they support different avenues that can collectively reduce the effects of the opioid crisis in the state as well as help people seek or provide addiction treatment services — including recovery coaches, drug courts and outpatient medication-assisted treatment centers.
Some barriers to increasing treatment aside from the stigma associated with substance abuse include specific certifications and additional training to license more substance abuse treatment professionals and misconceptions about the efficacy of needle exchange programs.