Drug and alcohol addiction is a disease that has touched many families and communities throughout the nation. Substance abusers may feel as though they are stuck in an endless cycle, and their loved ones often experience sadness, frustration, and confusion as a result. These friends and family members are therefore left to deal with the consequences of substance abuse. With the presence of harmful and deadly drugs, such as Heroin, into every corner of Michigan, it seems as though no family has been left untouched. Despite its small size, Pentwater has shared the burden of addiction with the rest of Michigan.
The Town of Pentwater, Michigan
At a population of just under 900 individuals, Pentwater can be classified as a relatively small town. Despite its size, the region has a lot to offer residents and tourists alike. The village, which is located in Oceana County, is situated on the banks of Lake Michigan and boasts many shops, restaurants, spas, salons, and entertainment venues. Its outdoor activities include fishing, golfing, sunbathing, waterskiing, horseback riding, hiking, bicycling, and sailing. The region is also home to several outdoor farmers’ markets in the warmer months. The goods are sourced from local farms right in the Pentwater area. During the winter, tourists are still attracted to the region’s skiing and snowmobiling opportunities.
Pentwater was quite literally named after the characteristics of the channel that touches the village. The “pent up” water in the canal is typically shallow, and until recently, could only contain smaller, more lightweight boats. Throughout history, the waters off of Pentwater have caused many shipwrecks. Some estimate that upwards of 40 vessels have sunk due to stormy weather in the area.
The region was originally home to several Native American tribes, including Ottowa, Chippewa, and Pottawatamie. Notably, in the 1850’s, the Native American population was about the same as the current population of Pentwater. Many of the artifacts left behind by these tribes are currently on display in the nearby Kent County Museum.
Despite its rich history and scenic setting, Pentwater has not been left untouched by the substance abuse epidemic that is sweeping the nation.
Substance Abuse in Pentwater, Michigan
Oceana County, including Pentwater, is facing dire circumstances when it comes to substance abuse issues. Specifically, young residents are becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol at alarming rates. Within the span of a year, approximately 42 teenagers sought treatment for substance abuse. This is especially alarming in light of the region’s small population. Furthermore, these figures don’t take into account the number of young people who are still activity struggling with addiction outside of a rehabilitation center. Officials have been fighting back against this epidemic using a number of resources, including increased outreach to schoolchildren.
The youth in Oceana County aren’t the only ones who are battling this wave of drug use. The recent uptick in Heroin abuse has seen no boundaries, impacting individuals from every walk of life. Sadly, Opiate abuse often ends tragically in fatality. Fortunately, prosecutors now have the ability to charge drug dealers with “delivery of Heroin causing death.” If found guilty of the charge, distributors may face up to a lifetime in prison.
This enhanced ability to charge drug dealers comes at a time when Heroin-related deaths are at an all time high. In Pentwater, hospital and emergency room admissions for Heroin-related complications is higher than that of any other drug. The number of these Heroin admissions is twice as high as the next leading cause of admission, which is Xanax. Other Opiates, such as Vicodin, Percocet, and OxyContin also caused a relatively high number of admissions.
While Heroin alone is a deadly substance, many believe that the additional rise in the death toll is caused by a mix of Heroin with other substances, such as Fentanyl. Fentanyl, also an Opiate, is markedly more potent than Heroin. Drug dealers frequently mix Heroin with this lethal substance, typically without the knowledge of the user. As such, the risk for an overdose increases drastically.
Many times, however, users overdose, even when they are aware that Fentanyl is mixed in with the Heroin. Just as how many addicts progressed from prescription painkillers to Heroin, many are now switching from Heroin to Fentanyl, in search of a stronger high. Officials estimate that this trend will cause an even greater rise in the overdose and death toll.
Despite this deadly development, Michigan officials continue their fight against the Opiate epidemic. Recently, two identical bills were introduced into the House and Senate, which, if passed, would allow Naloxone to be available without a prescription. Naloxone, otherwise known as Narcan, is the lifesaving antidote to an Opiate overdose. The drug is currently only available to medical professionals, but with a wider distribution, could save more lives throughout Pentwater, Oceana County, and the entirety of Michigan.
Substance Abuse Resources in Pentwater, Michigan
Substance abuse can frequently lead to feelings of shame and stigma. Right in the Pentwater area, however, there are many resources available to this vulnerable population. By contacting us, you or a loved one can begin a journey to sobriety.
For more information on Pentwater, Michigan, substance abuse, and local treatment options, please feel free to contact us, or one of the above-listed treatment facilities, today. Seeking help for substance abuse is the first step towards a happy, healthy, and drug free life.