LANSING – State Representative Charles Brunner (D-Bay City), hosted a telephone town hall last night to discuss the growing problem of prescription drug addiction, treatment and prevention. Joining Rep. Brunner on the call were State Senator Jim Ananich (D-Flint), who currently serves on the Governor’s Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Task Force; Dr. Michael Liepman, an addiction psychiatrist at WMU and the chair of the Michigan State Medical Society’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee; and Judge Linda Davis, who serves as a district court judge in Macomb County and is president of Families Against Narcotics.
“I was thrilled with the participation of the people of Bay County in our town hall last night. We heard from people whose lives have been personally touched by addiction, and their stories and suggestions offered incredible insight into the problems we are facing,” said Brunner.
Topics for discussion included prescription drug disposal to eliminate access to addictive substances, strategies for dealing with pain without opiates, and providing better training and oversight for doctors that prescribe potentially addictive substances. The panelists also discussed the challenges facing implementation of the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS) that is designed to prevent doctor shopping and inappropriate prescription of opioids, as well as altering the public and health care industries understanding of drug addiction as an issue of mental health.
Rep. Brunner is dedicated to using the feedback and ideas generated in last night’s town hall to combat the growing problem of drug addiction. According to Rep. Brunner, “I have made a commitment to work with my colleague Senator Ananich and the Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Task Force to make changes to state law and take action on the problems and suggestions discussed. We cannot wait for more of our citizens to suffer from this preventable tragedy. Too many lives have been ruined for us to not do everything in our power to help block access to dangerously addictive substances, and to get help for those struggling with addiction.”
More than 1,800 residents participated in the telephone town hall and numerous individuals that were unable to participate have contacted the representative’s office after the event to express their concern.