State lawmakers meet to address prescription abuse, help - WNEM TV 5

State lawmakers meet to address prescription abuse, help

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Fighting an addiction doesn't come easy.

Jody Drouin knows it all too well.

"The help is there, but they have to choose to want it," Drouin said.

She's been clean for 21 years and now prefers reading a good book over popping pills and getting drunk.

But she said staying involved also helps with substance abuse issues.

"We need a treatment center. There's nowhere to go," Drouin said.

Drouin expressed that need to state Rep. Charles Brunner, who wants to tackle the prescription drug and heroin problem in Mid-Michigan.

"We definitely do have a problem, and it's growing," Brunner said.

Members from law enforcement and the court system joined Brunner to discuss ways to address it.

A full house listened in and weighed in. Many echoed Drouin's opinions.

"What came through was we need treatment, good treatment, proper funding, let's keep them out of jail and get them well, because it's an addiction, it's an illness," Brunner said.

Drouin said having an addiction is enough punishment. And the resources to help are much more impactful than jail time.

"If I have to take any pain meds, it's as prescribed, have somebody kind of make sure, but I can do it now after 21 years," Drouin said.

It's estimated that 52 million people 12 and older have abused prescription drugs. 

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