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Combating drug addiction a worthy fight

About $2 million will reach Northeast Michigan as soon as July to help battle drug addiction, thanks to the settlement of a national lawsuit against opioid makers.

Alpena County stands to receive $1.1 million, Presque Isle County $500,000, and Montmorency and Alcona counties about $300,000 each, according to figures released by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office in January.

The opioid settlement money must fight addiction, but, state Attorney General Nessel told local officials during a recent visit, that could mean anything from construction of transitional housing to high-tech gadgets like bracelets fitted with overdose-detecting sensors, ear pieces that can abate withdrawal symptoms, and secured boxes that safely dispense the medications sometimes used to treat opioid use disorders.

Local officials have talked about using the money to fund a second-tier drug court that would allow judges to make the specialty court available to more people, Chief Judge Ed Black told Nessel.

Any of those efforts would be worthy salvos in the fight against addiction, which is at least a contributing factor to so many other societal issues. Addiction contributes to crime, joblessness, homelessness, and much more.

It’s worth noting that many people battling addiction who spoke to Nessel during her visit to Alpena said transitional housing would be a big help in their battle. We hope local officials tasked with spending the opioid settlement money give special consideration to that possibility.

We’re glad to see the state paying attention to Northeast Michigan’s fight against addiction, and we urge our local officials to spend the opioid settlement money smartly and judiciously but with as much haste as possible.

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