Community health center receives federal grant to fight opiate a - WNEM TV 5

Community health center receives federal grant to fight opiate addiction

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GENESEE COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

Linda Bielskis is the executive director for the Genesee County Health Center. The center desperately wants to treat opiate addiction in the county, so it applied for the Health Innovation Grant through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

"The problem with opiate addiction in Genesee County is pretty significant," Bielskis said.

The $35,000 one-time grant will provide education on Nahlaxzone to patients with opiate addiction.  It's to prevent overdose deaths.

"Any time that a person has been identified as opiate-dependent and they're seeking services whether it's treatment, behavioral or healthcare treatment, or primary care treatment, they will also be written a prescription along with other treatment intervention for naloxone, and provided education on how to administer naloxone in case the situation where overdose is suspected," Bielskis said.

Usually opiate addiction is linked to heroin use.  But many times it starts out with people getting hooked on prescription medication.

"We know that younger people have also had access to it through just getting it from family members' medicine cabinets," Bielskis said. "And so often the opiate dependency begins with taking prescription medications and quite often it turns out to be very expensive so the family member turns to using heroin as a less expensive way to meet the dependency."

The grant that the Genesee Health System received is part of $1 million that the state allocated to health projects around the Michigan. 

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