Opioid Special: surprising stats and alarming new trends every parent needs to know

GRAND RAPIDS Mich. (WOTV)-  The Opioid Epidemic is hitting close to home and statistics show that it is here in West Michigan and affecting kids across the area. In this special edition of Where You Live, Maranda tackles the topic bringing in experts from law enforcement, the medical field and high school students to give parents the tools they need to talk their kids and combat the issue in their homes.

Opioids on the rise in West Michigan

Target 8 Investigator Susan Samples and Sgt. Joel Roon of the Kent County Sheriff’s Department joined Maranda to help provide perspective on the opioid epidemic here in West Michigan. Samples has been covering the topic for years and has sat down with multiple families who have had it impact their lives, even losing loved ones.  Sgt. Roon discusses the frequency that he’s seeing opioid cases with the Sheriffs Department and how serious this problem has become.

“This isn’t a problem we can arrest our way out of. This is something we need to talk about,” -Sgt. Joel Roon, Kent Co. Sheriff’s Dept.

Students share personal experiences

Rockford Public Schools is attacking the opioid crisis and recently held an event that brought in more than 400 parents and students to encourage prevention through education.  Rockford High School students talk to Maranda to share their perspectives on what they’re seeing in their school in regards to opioids, how they are accessed and why some of their peers would want to take them. One student in particular shared her experience with prescription drugs.

“By bringing awareness and continuing to reinforce those issues with young teens and parents, we will make a difference in these issues,” -Dr. Michael Shibler, Superintendent of Rockford Public Schools

Tips for families

Dr. Lisa Lowery, Division Chief for Adolescent Medicine from the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and Dr. Ken Fawcett, the Vice President of Spectrum Health’s Healthier Communities joined Maranda to help families better understand opioids.  Dr. Lowery shares her personal tips to families about prescription drugs, how families can handle them better along with alternatives to deal with pain. Dr. Fawcett also shared what Spectrum Health is doing to respond to the crisis.

Dealing with Addiction

Anthony Muller from Wedgwood Christian Services explains what an addiction is, how it is formed and showcases that one of the key factors families should be aware of when being prescribed painkillers is the history of addiction in the family.  Scott Nuismer from Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services then explains how an opioid addiction forges a relationship in kids between their mind and the drug. Nuismer also shares some key ways parents can talk their kids about opioids at a young age.


*To find out more about opioids, information and treatment, visit these resources:
https://www.spectrumhealth.org/patient-care/services-and-treatment-detail-pages/adolescent-medicine https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/prescription-pain-medications-opioids


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