MDHHS rescheduling, changing format of opioid town halls

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 20, 2020
Contact: Lynn Sutfim, 517-241-2112

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Opioids Task Force and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) are rescheduling and changing the format of previously announced local town halls on opioids. These town halls will now be in a virtual format.

The following is the new town hall schedule:

  • Northern Lower Michigan (previously the Gaylord town hall), Wednesday, Sept. 23.
  • Flint and Thumb Region (previously the Flint town hall) Friday, Sept. 25.
  • Upper Peninsula (previously the Escanaba town hall) Thursday, Oct. 8.
  • West Michigan (previously the Grand Rapids town hall) Friday, Nov. 6.
  • Macomb and Oakland counties (previously the Sterling Heights town hall) Thursday, Dec. 3.

During the events, state officials will seek to learn more about how the opioid epidemic has impacted different regions of the state. To ensure information gathered reflects the experience of the local communities, residents are asked to only participate in the virtual town hall for the area in which they reside.

“The state cannot tackle this epidemic alone,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for MDHHS. “Community and stakeholder engagement at every step is critical to us being able to turn the tide on this public health crisis. The town halls will focus on how the opioid epidemic has impacted the region of the state in which the events are being held and we look forward to having honest and candid conversations so we hear concerns and develop solutions that resonate with Michiganders.”

More details on how to participate will be provided at Michigan.gov/opioids closer to the events.

In 2018, Michigan recorded more than 2,000 opioid-related overdose deaths and more than 8,000 Michiganders have lost their lives to this epidemic in the last five years. Last year, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the launch of a multi-year campaign to cut opioid-related overdose deaths by half in five years. The state’s strategy addresses three key areas: preventing opioid misuse, ensuring individuals using opioids can access high-quality recovery treatment and reducing the harm caused by opioids to individuals and their communities.

At the town halls, MDHHS and the Michigan Opioids Task Force will share the 2020 strategy to turn the tide on the crisis, seek feedback from the public and host a Q-and-A about the crisis response.

Information gathered during the town halls will help the state develop a crisis response that is flexible; effective to fit the needs of communities from Detroit to Grand Rapids to Marquette; and informed by the experiences of Michiganders affected by the crisis.

A few key questions will guide the conversation:

  • How has the opioid epidemic affected you, your family or your community?
  • What services, programs or policies would you recommend to help address the crisis?
  • How can the state help combat stigma and change the narrative around opioid use disorder?

For more information about the state’s opioids response and available resources, visit Michigan.gov/opioids.

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