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Tim in the News

Jackson Cit Pat: U.S. Rep. visits jail, recovery center for first-hand look at addiction

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Washington, March 6, 2017 | comments
JACKSON, MI - Searching for more insight on Jackson County's growing opioid epidemic, U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, toured the county Monday to see what he can do to help.

Walberg, alongside Andy's Angels founder Mike Hirst, toured the Jackson County Jail on Chanter Road Monday, March 6, meeting with inmates who have been affected by heroin.

"Talking with the inmates here, it's clear this will be a battle to get people the help they need," said Walberg, who represents Michigan's 7th District. "The first step to winning is to be aware of how prevalent opioid abuse is. It effects people from all walks of life and it's easy to feel alone if you're addicted."

Hirst, who has been working with Walberg on issues related to a growing heroin epidemic, recently attended President Donald Trump's address to Congress as Walberg's guest.

"When I walked out of there, I felt positive about the direction of this country," said Hirst, a Jackson business owner involved education, prevention and support related to opioid abuse since the 2010 death of his son, Andy.

After touring the jail, Walberg went on a ride-along with Deputy Sam Sukovich through the county and then was taken to the Jackson Recovery Resource Center, 407 W. Michigan Ave., to see how people can seek help and recover from addiction.

In 2016, the center referred 486 people for treatment with 152 reporting opioids, more than any other substance, as their drug of choice, according to data collected by the center.

As of March 3, the center has referred 86 people for treatment in 2017.

"We want people to not feel alone or embarrassed if they are addicted," Walberg said. "We need people to step in, to get help and to see they have potential to do great things."

Andy's Angels is a non-profit foundation that educates the community on opioid and heroin abuse and provides support for families and individuals suffering from addiction. Hirst started the organization memory of his son, Andy, who died of a heroin overdose in 2010 at age 24.

This article originally appeared in the March 6 edition of the Jackson Citizen Patriot.
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