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Health

Health

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Nearly every day, a silver Subaru makes its way through the tiny towns and white pine woods of Wexford County, in northern Michigan.

Behind the wheel is Jeannie Schnitker, a nurse with the state’s Maternal and Infant Health Program.

Last week, I tagged along for a ride.

Oğuzhan Abdik / Flickr Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Think back to a time when you stayed up all night, or only slept for a few hours.

Did you feel groggy or sluggish? Was it difficult to focus on the tasks you needed to complete? Maybe you felt just plain miserable.

We know adequate sleep is important for everyone. But imagine how essential it is for a kid's developing mind and body.

U.S. Department of Agriculture's photostream / Flickr Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

No more pencils. No more books. No more free lunch?

Millions of low-income kids across the country rely on free and reduced-priced breakfast and lunch during the school year.

So, what happens when school is out for the summer and they lose access to these meals?

flickr.com/nichd

Colin Parks gets an email alert almost every time a baby in Michigan dies in their sleep.

Parks is head of Michigan’s Child Protective Services, and he tells me he gets far too many of these emails; they arrive almost every other day.

“In Michigan,” he says, “we lose about 140 to 150 infants a year, and that’s a number that’s been pretty static over time.”

It’s been static, even though Parks, and everyone else who works on infant safety has been desperately trying to get the message out. The message is for all babies to sleep alone, on their back and in an empty crib. To simplify, they use a slogan - ABC - alone, back, crib.

Flint pediatrician: Out of water crisis, opportunity

Dec 14, 2015
Sharyn Morrow / Flickr Creative Commons

  Last week I wrote about concerns facing kids living in the city of Flint. The biggest concern as of late revolves around negative health impacts due to the water crisis. The fear is that the behavioral and health consequences will put already disadvantaged children in an even tougher position to get ahead.

stockmonkeys.com

Pacific Standard magazine published a piece online yesterday tracing the history of OxyContin, and the rise of opiate addiction in the United States. We've reported here that opiate abuse has killed more than 3,000 people in Michigan alone since 2005. A growing number of those deaths can be attributed to heroin overdoses. Heroin is one kind of opiate. But it's worth remembering how this epidemic started. It started with prescription drug companies chasing profits. 

leeroy09481 / flickr

Michigan is beginning to reach a state of normalcy after the worst economic shock in a generation. Last week, the state announced the unemployment rate held steady at 5%, which matches the national average. Which is to say, Michigan is no longer a worse-than-average place for people trying to find work. 

And that's good news, because a new economic paper spells out just how bad a job loss can be not just for the adults going through it, but for their kids too. 

Listen to The Hidden Epidemic full documentary

Jul 17, 2015
courtesy of Mary DeBoer.

The Hidden Epidemic is a State of Opportunity documentary on the opiate drug epidemic in Michigan.

It’s been a national epidemic, but Michigan has been especially hard hit. It’s an epidemic of drug addiction to opiates. While Michigan has been one of the worst places for the epidemic, it has not been a place on the forefront of finding solutions.

John Guilfoil Public Relations LLC/ JGPR.Net

This is the third part in our documentary, The Hidden Epidemic. You can hear the full documentary on the air today at 3 p.m. and 10 p.m., or catch up online. Part one is here. Part two is here.  

It’s been a decade. Maybe more. Thousands have died. Many more had their lives destroyed. It’s been a national epidemic, but Michigan has been especially hard hit.

It’s an epidemic of drug addiction to opiates.

While Michigan has been one of the worst places for the epidemic, it has not been a place on the forefront of finding solutions.

Eugene Atkins was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for selling heroin that led to a young man's death.
courtesy of the Atkins family

 This is the second part in our documentary, The Hidden Epidemic. You can hear the full documentary on Michigan Radio on Thursday, July 16th at 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. Part one is here.

On October 27th, 1986, President Reagan signed a new law to fight drug use in America. Buried within that law were new penalties for those convicted of selling drugs. The premise behind these penalties was to get the most serious drug offenders off the streets, and send a message that dealing drugs in America is a crime that does not pay.

Eugene Atkins never got that message.

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