The opioid epidemic has been ongoing for years — communities both big and small are struggling, but it’s not often you see definitive proof that something is being done to change it.
In Oakland County, a new web portal has been opened that allows people to both see the problem and seek help.
In addition to statistics and information about the issue, the site links back to something called “Celebrating Lost Loved Ones,” an interactive map where dozens of Michigan opioid deaths are chronicled. It’s a tool that allows people to see the full scope of the problem beyond the talking points we’ve become too used to hearing.
When you zoom into the map the numbers are daunting. Each dot corresponds to a name: Jennifer Christine Kroll, Mary Atkins, Dustin Donovan Montrose and Allen Behrend. Those are just a few of the names listed in the Waterford area, each with a corresponding story left by a loved one who wanted their relatives’ story told.
For Behrend someone wrote: “Allen was the light of my life. I cannot put into words how much I miss my ‘baby.’”
Those personal stories are a reminder of the 33,000 U.S. deaths linked to the opioid epidemic in 2016.
Localized statistics in Oakland County list a total of 165 deaths due to opioids.
It’s why the county has tried to stay ahead of the epidemic for years. As far back as 2009, the county rolled out medication drop-off bins for easy access. People can drop off prescription drugs, including opioids, without question — last year during a single day, Prescription Take Back Day, they collected more than 3,500 pounds of drugs to be destroyed safely.
The new web portal that links to the “Celebrating Lost Loved Ones,” also links it’s users to information on where the bins are located. It goes one step further and lists detailed information about treatment centers for those in need of immediate, and long-term help.
You can find the map, the drop-off locations and information about treatment centers online now by clicking here.