GENERIC: pills, medication

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's charity will invest $10 million to help Michigan fight opioid overdose deaths.

The Bloomberg Philanthropies' funding was announced Thursday and is designed to speed up access to treatment and improve prevention.

Projects may include expanding distribution of naloxone and medications for opioid use disorder and enhancing systems to improve data collection to help speed response.

It's part of a $50 million initiative announced last year, with Pennsylvania earlier picked to get a share of the funding.

Opioids were responsible for more than three-quarters of Michigan's nearly 2,700 drug overdose deaths in 2017.

Bloomberg said in a release that Bloomberg Philanthropies hopes its work "in places like Michigan and Pennsylvania spares more families the heartbreak of losing a loved one to opioid addiction or overdose."

Dr. William Morrone is the director of an addiction treatment clinic in Bay County called Recovery Pathways.

Over the years, Morrone has seen firsthand just how much the opioid epidemic has affected the state.

Statistics show Michigan ranks eighth in the country in the number of overdose deaths.

Morrone said this $10 million donation could help in expanding treatment for those suffering from opioid addiction and even enhancing the state’s response to the crisis.

Morrone explains more of the money needs to go toward providers and patients, rather than the bureaucracy.

“So $10 million, if it’s placed correctly, can really be extremely effective. But we can’t put it in the same organization that didn’t really work well for eight years. It has to go to treatment for the patients,” Morrone said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report more than two million people in the United States are addicted to opioids, and opioids are responsible for about 130 deaths in the U.S. every day.

By comparison, there are about 102 deaths in the U.S. every day from car crashes.

Copyright 2019 Associated Press/WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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