Public radio from Western Michigan University 102.1 NPR News | 89.9 Classical WMUK
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Interviews with news makers and discussion of topics important to Southwest Michigan. Subscribe to the podcast through Apple itunes and Google. Segments of interview are heard in WestSouthwest Brief during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

WSW: Opioids "A Top Priority" For Kalamazoo County Medical Director

Andy Robins

Kalamazoo County Medical Director Will Nettleton says there’s no change in methodology, or how deaths are counted that explains a sharp rise in deaths last year related to opioids. He says Kalamazoo County is simply following the national trend.

Nettleton, who also serves as Calhoun County’s Medical Director, says deaths due to opioids have quickly risen to the top of his priorities. He says the substance abuse numbers should be addressed as a public health problem.

Deaths related to opioids spiked last year. 59 people in the county died because of opioids, compared to 29 in 2015. Nettleton presented the findings in a report to Kalamazoo County Commissioners last week.

Interview with Will Nettleton - web version

Nettleton says addressing opioids will take time. “It took 20 years to get here, it will some time to get out.” He says that requires working with law enforcement, medicine and other professions. Nettleton says the opioid issue didn’t exist 15 years ago. He says systems and partnerships had to be established.


Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services

National Institute on Drug Abuse on opioids

National Institute on Drug Abuse on addiction

Surgeon General's report on alcohol, drugs and health

Gordon Evans became WMUK's Content Director in 2019 after more than 20 years as an anchor, host and reporter. A 1990 graduate of Michigan State, he began work at WMUK in 1996.
Related Content