Michigan seeing a rise in overdose deaths due to the pandemic

NOW: Michigan seeing a rise in overdose deaths due to the pandemic

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. -- Just as progress was being made, in the battle against the opioid crisis new numbers now indicate an uptick in overdose deaths, in Michigan. At recovery center Carol’s Hope they say coming here to start a recovery plan is just the first part of the process.

“My biggest wake up call was waking up in an orange jump suit in jail,'' said RJ Fleming, Recovery Coach at Carol's Hope.

A difficult journey to recovery. That’s what it’s been like for Fleming after finding himself addicted to methamphetamines.

Now almost 4 1/2 years later and after completing a treatment program, it’s something that’s changed his life perspective.

“As I went through that process I decided that I wanted to help people that I wanted to dedicate my life to helping people. So after I graduated from the treatment program I went out and I seeked out the recovery coach certificate," said Fleming.

Using their experiences overcoming addictions, both Fleming and coworker PJ Sando decided to seek the coaching route.

They say the isolation from the pandemic has caused patient numbers to almost double over the last several months, but it’s not stopping them from continuing to advocate for recovery.

“Through our lives all the troubles and being broken down we can share that with them and how we picked ourselves back up," said PJ Sando, Recovery Coach at Carol's Hope.

Track 3

The Michigan Opioids Task Force created a 7 pillar plan last year to address the increase of cases with the goal to reduce death rates by 50 % within the next 5 years.

As they continue to distribute naloxone kits across the state Sando says it’s always a good idea to have one on hand because you never know when you might need it.

“My heart goes out to anybody that’s struggling with addiction I know the hardships it brings and my passion here is to help. Help you get back to where you need to go," said Sando.

The center is providing emergency housing for anyone seeking treatment.

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