Drug overdoses up, despite decrease in opioid prescriptions, new GVSU study says

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GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Drug overdose deaths in the West Michigan and Detroit regions increased, despite the decrease in opioid prescriptions, according to a new report by Grand Valley State University (GVSU) researchers.

Opioid usage and overdoses, access to health care, risk factors such as smoking and obesity and mental health, were among the topics at the annual forum on health care trends in West Michigan held at GVSU’s Eberhard Center Friday, Jan. 10.

GVSU economics professors Sebastian Linde and Gerry Simons created the 11th annual health care economic forecast, Health Check 2020, which analyzes data and trends for Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon and Allegan (KOMA) counties and compares the data to the Detroit area and national figures.

“The information in this publication is intended to inform health care policy and community decisions about the types of health care professionals that we need, the cost of care, the services provided and the types of delivery systems that are best to meet the needs of our community for quality safe care,’’ GVSU Vice Provost for Health Jean Nagelkirk told the audience Friday, Jan. 10.

Nagelkirk said one of the most significant findings in the new data was that drug overdoses had not declined along with prescriptions in both the Grand Rapids or Detroit areas (Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties).

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