You can’t escape it; nearly every day there is a disturbing report or news story warning us about the worst drug crisis in American history — the rampant opioid epidemic. Recognizing that no state, city or town is immune, Public Sector Consultants (PSC) embarked late last year on a one‐​of‐​kind project with the Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC) to map the assets, resources, experts and tools being used by Michigan organizations to address the opioid crisis across the state. The resulting research will help the MCSC — as well as other key players in the fight against drug abuse — better understand where opportunities exist to positively impact opioid addiction. Just as important, it will tell us where there are gaps so we can try to fill them.

Just how far‐​reaching is the opioid epidemic? Take a look.


The number of Americans who die every day from drug overdoses — 91 of those are specifically due to opioids (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

5 and 80

America’s percentage of the world population compared to its percentage of the world’s painkiller consumption (BBC)


The percentage of physicians who exceeded the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended three‐​day dosage limit for opioid prescriptions in 2016; 23 percent wrote prescriptions for a full month (WorkCompWire)

11.4 million vs. 9.9 million

The number of prescriptions written in Michigan for painkillers in 2015 compared to the state’s total population; put simply, there are more prescriptions written in our state than there are people (Michigan Department of Health and Human Services)


The number of primary heroin and prescription opioid treatment admissions in Michigan in 2016 — an amount that has increased 4.8‑fold since 2001 (Office of Recovery Oriented Systems of Care)


The number of Michiganders who died from opioid overdoses in 2015, which is more than those who died from gun deaths (1,164) and nearly twice as many as those who died in traffic accidents (840) (MLive)


The number of babies in Michigan in 2014 who were treated for neonatal abstinence syndrome, which is caused by exposure to opiates in the womb; that is double what it was in 2010 (Detroit Free Press)

Nearly $10,000 vs. $50,000

The average cost of a hospital stay for a healthy baby compared to that of a newborn with opiate withdrawal (Journal of the American Medical Association)

1840 – 1920, 1960s – 1970s and 1999

The years when the first, second and third opioid addiction epidemics occurred in America. In the first, an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 Americans were addicted, predominantly upper‐​class housewives, soldiers recovering from war wounds and Chinese immigrant laborers. In the second, drug overdose deaths due to heroin peaked in 1970 at nearly 80,000 deaths, affecting mostly low‐​income youths living in urban settings, particularly nonwhite males aged 20 – 29 years old. The current epidemic started in 1999. Users now are predominantly white, most often young males, and often live in rural communities. (USC‐​Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy)

For more information about the opioid work that PSC is doing or the mapping process we are using, please contact Scott Dzurka at [email protected].