COVID-19 Updates | COVID-19 Vaccine Info | Your COVID-19 Vaccine | Virtual Visits | Visitation Restrictions | Closures
No visitors allowed, with few exceptions. All patients and permitted visitors are required to wear a Munson Healthcare-issued mask.

Opioid Resources in Northern Michigan

Misuse of opioids is a serious national health crisis. Every day in the United States, 130 people die from an opioid overdose. In Michigan alone, the number of people diagnosed with an addiction to opioids between 2010 and 2016 increased by a staggering 493 percent. This crisis affects us even here in northern Michigan. In fact, in the five-county area that our largest hospital and regional referral center – Munson Medical Center – serves, the average age-adjusted death rate from opioid overdose from an overdose per 100,000 residents was 17.1 versus the national average of 15.6, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Moreover, Munson Healthcare hospitals report that 39.6 percent of patients treated in the emergency department for substance use disorder will return to the ED within 90 days.


What Are Opioids?

Opioids are narcotics used for pain relief that produce morphine-like effects on the body. These drugs have significant side effects and can even lead to death when misused. Common names of opioids are hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco), oxycodone (Percocet, OxyContin), morphine, codeine (Tylenol #3, Tylenol #4), Fentanyl, methadone, and tramadol (Ultram).

What We Are Doing to Address the Opioid Crisis in northern Michigan

The spotlight on the opioid crisis both nationwide and in our region has encouraged important action on several fronts. At Munson Healthcare, we are seeing a slight positive turn in statistics and are committed to helping our community resolve this issue within our mission and role as a health care provider.

Our efforts to provide care and help stem the opioid crisis are numerous and varied, involving both inpatient and outpatient care. We continue to expand these efforts through several collaborations, educational initiatives, and now additional programs and front-line staff made possible through grant support.

Specific actions Munson Healthcare has taken include the following:

  • Participating in two community roundtable discussions on opioids.
  • Establishing an Opioid Task Force to examine our processes and practices.
  • Developing a controlled substances and opioids toolkit to help educate staff and physicians and ensure we have the right policies and practices in place to help address this problem.
  • Reducing the number of opioid pills prescribed in Emergency Rooms by nearly 75 percent over an 18-month period (as of April 2019).
  • Introducing a medication assisted treatment (MAT) pilot program to help area residents struggling with an opioid-related disorder, thanks to grant funding from the Michigan Opioid Partnership. This program will care for people suffering from opiate use disorder, beginning with Munson Medical Center’s Emergency Department and continuing with treatment and maintenance care in the community with collaboration from our partners: Addiction Treatment Services, Munson Family Practice Center, Traverse Health Clinic, Northwest Michigan WORKS, Dr. Julia Riddle and Behavioral Health Services.
  • In addition to this collaboration with the Michigan Opioid Partnership, we also received a three-year $1.5 million grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration in late 2018 that also allows us to use the gold standard of opioid use disorder care. This includes expanded access to medications, behavioral health treatment, recovery coaching, and care coordination.
  • Installing MedSafe medication disposal bins at nine Munson Healthcare sites, as a safe, free way for community members to dispose of unused or expired medication. Since those installations in 2018, nearly 1,800 pounds of medical waste has been collected (as of June 30). Much of that waste represented unused opioid medications.

Alternative Pain Care

It is important to note that though we are in this opioid addiction crisis, there remains a proper use for opioids in the care of certain patients. We also understand the need for pain relief for certain classes of patients can be met through alternative means.

Provider education within our health system has emphasized alternative pain care. Examples include:

  • Non-opioid medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen.
  • Non-medication therapies such as ice, elevation, physical therapy, splinting.
  • Acupuncture and mindful practice when appropriate and if the patient is open to these.

The opioid crisis will take continued collaboration and concerted efforts to solve. With the help of the Michigan Opioid Partnership and like-minded providers and agencies, Munson Healthcare will continue our efforts to reduce and ultimately put an end to the opioid crisis affecting our region and beyond.


Resources for Opioid Treatment throughout Northern Michigan

Munson Medical Center
1105 Sixth St. | Traverse City, MI 49684

231-935-5000 or 800-847-8474

  • Inpatient and outpatient services are available.
  • Accepts most insurance.

 

Additional Opioid Treatment Options

 


How You Can Help Fight the Opioid Crisis in northern Michigan

A staggering 69 percent of people nationally who misuse pain medication get them from a friend or relative. Here are several important steps you can take to help prevent a loved one who may be at risk for opioid addiction:

  • Keep medications in the container you received them in.
  • Keep the container locked in a cool, dry place out of reach of children and pets.
  • Do not store medications in places that allow easy access, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Keep track of the number of pills you have left.
  • Dispose safely of medications as soon as you are finished taking them.

How to Safely Throw Away Unused or Expired Medicine

  1. Take medications to one of our nine MedSafe bins located throughout northern Michigan or to a drug takeback event where they will be incinerated (more information below).

Or

  1. Medications can also be disposed of by removing from the original container and mixing
    with kitty litter or used coffee grounds and then placing inside a sealed bag or container and
    putting in household trash.

Please scratch out any information on your prescription container label before throwing away. Do not flush medications down the drain or toilet because they can seep into and contaminate groundwater.


Med Takeback at Munson Healthcare

Our preferred method of medication disposal is through our MedSafe stations, located throughout northern Michigan. These drop-off containers offer free and safe disposal, keeping medication out of reach of susceptible loved ones and pets.

We have collected nearly 1,800 pounds of medical waste as of June 30, 2019 thanks to community use of our MedSafe containers. Much of that waste included unused opioid medications.

Our drop-off process is easy and anonymous. You are not required to check in or provide your name or any other personal information. Learn more about this simple process and find a MedSafe near you.


Ongoing Work through the Opioid Crisis

The opioid crisis will take continued collaboration and concerted efforts to solve. With the help of the Michigan Opioid Partnership and like-minded providers and agencies, we will continue our efforts to reduce and end this serious crisis affecting our region and beyond.