Fighting the opioid crisis in Kent County


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – Opioid addiction is now the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history. But before it made national headlines almost daily, a news reporter in Virginia was documenting some of the earliest cases in Appalachia. Now, Beth Macy has turned those experiences into a book. That’s part of the GR Reads summer adult reading series.

“Dopesick” tells the story of how the epidemic began, how it evolved, and why it became so large. Macy spent years interviewing people individuals and families touched by addiction, dealers who caused harm and doctors and law enforcement fighting to stop the crisis.

On a local level, the Red Project and the Kent County Health Department and the Kent County Opioid Task Force are spearheading efforts in our area. Today we have Steve Alsum from the Red Project and Rachel Jantz from the Kent County Health Department.

Recently declared a national public health emergency, opioid-related deaths kill more people in Michigan than car accidents or firearms. Local responses range from providing police with tools that counteract overdoses to opening safe injection sites. Join the library, along with Dirt City Sanctuary, the Kent County Opioid Task Force, and The Red Project for an important community conversation. Learn how the opioid epidemic has taken shape locally and how we can work to tackle the growing epidemic in our community.

Naloxone (Narcan) Training

The Red Project offers Naloxone (also known as Narcan) training for free to individuals, family members, and friends who want to be prepared for a loved one who may be at risk. The prescription, a brief training, and the medication is provided on site by knowledgeable Red Project staff and volunteers. This training is presented in five different neighborhoods five days a week. For more information, contact Opioid Program Manager Megan Rocha-Adams at or 616.456.9063.

  • A Community Conversation on Facing the Opioid Epidemic
  • Thursday, August 22, 2019, 7:00 pm
  • Main Library 111 Library St NE – Grand Rapids

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