Skip to main content

New data assessment provides information about patterns of opioid use, drug overdoses in Michigan

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

LANSING, Mich. – A new statewide assessment has identified trends that will assist government agencies, lawmakers and local community leaders tailor laws, target resources, and design innovative programs to best address the opioid epidemic in Michigan.

The assessment was completed by the Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) and Appriss Health as part of Michigan’s strategy to prevent opioid abuse. LARA is one of the first state government agencies in the country to conduct this comprehensive assessment to better inform its statewide battle with the opioid epidemic.

“Michigan is at the forefront of using data and technology to identify prevent and manage substance use disorders across the state,” said Lt. Governor Brian Calley. “This assessment provides a holistic image of the opioid epidemic in Michigan and will provide immense assistance as we develop and implement prevention and treatment strategies to assist individuals suffering from substance use disorder.” 

The report overlays three years (2013-2015) of well-documented cases of unintentional overdose death with five years (2012-2017) of prescription records in the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS). In total, more than 7.5 million patients receiving 103.2 million prescriptions over the last five years were linked to 5,261 overdose deaths.

The assessment provides valuable information about patterns of opioid usage in Michigan by detailing patient-level and aggregate trends of controlled-substance prescriptions and overdose deaths within the state.

“The opioid epidemic is a public health crisis that has affected every community in Michigan,” said LARA Director Shelly Edgerton. “Collaborating with our technology partners at Appriss Health has helped us aggregate individual and community-level challenges of the opioid epidemic to anticipate current and future statewide trends.”

Specifically, the assessment outlines the following:

  • Prescription volume by patient and dispenser zip code.
  • Characteristics of patients suffering a drug-related overdose death.
  • Analysis of vulnerable patient subpopulations. 
  • Drug-related death totals and rates by city from 2013-2015.
  • Prescriber characteristics.

Key findings include:

  • There were 30 percent more drug-related overdose deaths in 2015 than in 2013.
  • From 2013 to 2015, the largest number of drug-related overdose deaths occurred among men aged 26-35 and men aged 46-55.
  • From 2013 to 2015, among women, the largest number of drug related overdose deaths were in the 46-55 age group.

The assessment utilizes Appriss Health’s artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies, including its proprietary Overdose Risk Score that predicts the likelihood of a drug-related death, to reveal critical insights into the opioid epidemic to enable more advanced interventions and responses. The same innovative technologies are utilized in NarxCare, a substance use disorder platform deployed to prescribers and pharmacists across Michigan to assess risk and improve patient care to help address the opioid epidemic.

“This assessment, along with other data science collaborations underway, demonstrate the aggressive commitment of our partners in Michigan to impact the opioid crisis,” said Rob Cohen, president of Appriss Health. “Together, Appriss Health and Michigan share a common strategy in the fight against the scourge of the opioid epidemic – to best leverage AI and machine learning as well as the PDMP (MAPS) to provide the necessary framework and utility to enable data and analytically advanced insights to be made available up front, for every patient, every time. This strategy includes the automated delivery of a series of validated, numerical risk scores as well as one-click access to a PDMP (MAPS) platform that provides enhanced data visualizations, red flags, alerts, patient management tools and more within clinical workflow.”

The assessment will be presented to the Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Commission (PDOAC) at their meeting on April 12. The Commission is comprised of 17 members who are appointed for two years by the Governor. The Commission is charged with acting in an advisory capacity to the Governor and the Director of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

For more information about LARA, please visit

Follow us on Twitter at or “Like” us on Facebook