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“The Healing Forest” - Addressing The Local Opioid Crisis In Creative & Compassionate Ways

Feb 12, 2019

Credit Washtenaw County Health Department

The Washtenaw County Health Department recently published a new report that looks behind the facts and numbers of the growing opioid epidemic and focuses on a comprehensive community approach to the problem.

89.1 WEMU's Lisa Barry talks to a county epidemiologist who authored the report focusing on "how did we get here" when it comes to the increase in deadly opioid overdoses.


The report is called "The Healing Forest" and comes from the Native American Wellbriety Movement, according to Adreanne Waller, epidemiologist in the Washtenaw County Health Department and author of the report.

She spoke to dozens of people in different stages of opioid addiction and treatment in hopes of fostering a community culture that is focused on recovery and wellness.

Credit Washtenaw County Health Department

The report goes beyond opioid prescriptions and looks at underlying issues that create environments for addiction.

Waller talked to different people to hear the real stories behind the issue in hopes of coming up with real life solutions.

Mental illness plays a big role in the problem and Waller says she was told by local law enforcement officials that "you cannot handcuff addiction."

She said she heard about ten repeating themes, situations that kept coming up over and over again.

She said the county health department hopes to use the information to create a sustained community recovery environment.

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu