Substance abuse is a problem that has impacted countless communities across the nation. While classic substances of abuse, such as Cocaine and Methamphetamines, are still prevalent throughout the United States, many areas are also now dealing with an increase in addiction to Opiates, such as prescription painkillers and Heroin. With this new trend, drug and alcohol abuse is no longer considered a big city problem. Small communities throughout Michigan, including Oak Hill in Filer Charter Township, are facing a growing substance abuse issue.
About Oak Hill, Michigan
Oak Hill, Michigan is a Census Designated Place (CDP) within Filer Charter Township, in Manistee County. Though Oak Hill is not separately incorporated and though the two regions share a local government, the area of Oak Hill is a distinctly designated population according to the United States Census Bureau. These two unique regions are located within Manistee County and hold a population of about 2,200 individuals. Oak Hill, in and of itself, is home to about 570 of these residents. Currently, most of the members of this population are employed in the manufacturing industry.
The area’s borders lie just inland of Lake Michigan on the Western coast of the state. The estimated median household income in Oak Hill is around $41,000.00, which is on par with the median figures for the State of Michigan, as a whole. The local unemployment rate, which currently sits at 4.8%, is also quite similar to the rate for the entire state. Notably, though the area is located within Michigan, the closest city to Oak Hill with a large population (50,000 or more) is actually Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
The region also has access to Manistee Lake, which connects to Lake Michigan through a tributary, aptly named the Manistee River. The presence of these lakes and rivers provides bountiful recreational opportunities, including fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, camping, hunting, watersports, and other outdoor activities.
Despite its small size, Oak Hill and Filer Charter Township have been impacted by the substance abuse trend that is sweeping the nation.
Substance Abuse in Oak Hill, Michigan
In a four-year period, from 1999 to 2002, there were only 271 Heroin-related deaths in the State of Michigan. Unfortunately, these figures have recently ballooned. In only a two-year period, from 2010 to 2012, there were 728 deaths directly caused by Heroin within the State of Michigan. While the issue was originally contained in Genesee, Macomb, and Wayne Counties, the wave of Opiate abuse has hit most other areas in Michigan, including Manistee County.
Sadly, this increase in Opiate addiction has been caused, in large part, by physician prescribing practices and misrepresentations of big pharmaceutical companies. When Opiate-based prescription painkillers were introduced, they were initially touted as a safe form of pain management. As such, doctors began prescribing the medications for any number of ailments, in an effort to make patients more comfortable. Unfortunately, the addictive nature of the drugs reared its ugly head, causing countless addictions from a simple prescription alone.
When addicts could no longer obtain painkillers via prescription, many turn to the streets to obtain the substance illicitly. This, however, can become quite expensive, causing many addicts to progress to Heroin, which can be had for around $10.00 per dose. Though the substance is cheaper, it is much more potent, which has led to the increase in overdoses and fatalities.
Now, as Heroin users become tolerant to the drug, some are turning to an even more dangerous alternative: Fentanyl. This drug can be up to 100 times more potent than similar substances, such as Morphine. Though some addicts knowingly take Fentanyl in an effort to achieve a stronger high, many experience an overdose when the drug is unknowingly mixed with other substances, such as Heroin.
Sadly, no one is immune to this trend, even Manistee County youth. In an effort to prevent addiction, school districts within Manistee County, including Oak Hill, are increasing their outreach regarding substance abuse and performing raids when there is the a threat of drug use. Fortunately, a recent investigation did not turn up any illicit substances within Manistee County schools.
In an effort to combat the growing substance abuse issues throughout Michigan, in Manistee County, and even in Oak Hill, state lawmakers have introduced two identical bills to the House and Senate. If passed, the law would allow Naloxone to be distributed without a prescription. Naloxone is the lifesaving antidote to an Opiate overdose, which has saved countless lives across the state. Though the laws have proven to be controversial, many residents and most officials believe it would be a step in the right direction in the fight against drug abuse.
Substance Abuse Resources in Oak Hill, Michigan
Whether you live in a small community or a big city in Michigan, substance abuse still has an impact on your daily life. If you or a loved one are looking for resources and information in your battle against drug or alcohol dependence, please feel free to contact us today. Taking this first step can help save your life, or the life of a loved one.
There are also resources for Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings are available right in the Oak Hill area, as well as locations throughout Manistee County. Some of these meetings are open only to addicts, but others welcome family members for additional support.
If you are looking for more information on Oak Hill, Michigan, substance abuse trends, and local resources for help, please feel free to contact us, or one of the above-listed treatment centers, today.