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Legislative leaders make appointments to Opioid Advisory Commission

LANSING, Mich. Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Jason Wentworth on Thursday announced appointments to the new Opioid Advisory Commission.

“We are proud to announce these outstanding appointments to the Opioid Advisory Commission, which is tasked with overseeing how state and local agencies use funds from a historic national opioid settlement to combat opioid addiction in Michigan,” said Shirkey, R-Clarklake. “The impact of the opioid epidemic can be seen in communities and families in every corner of our state. The excellent experience of these commission members will help ensure that we are effectively reducing opioid addiction, providing treatment to those impacted by these drugs, and increasing awareness about these issues across Michigan.”

Public Act 84 of 2022 created the Opioid Advisory Commission within the Legislative Council as part of a legislative package to receive and distribute the state’s share of a nationwide opioid settlement and oversee how those funds are used.

Michigan is set to receive nearly $800 million in opioid settlement payments over the next 18 years from three major pharmaceutical distributors Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen, along with opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson.

“Drug addiction impacts families all across our state, and it is going to take a strong statewide solution to address it,” said Wentworth, R-Clare. “We put together a great team with unique backgrounds and diverse experiences. They will find out what’s working and what’s not in our communities and build the real-world solutions we need to make a difference in this fight. I’m looking forward to seeing their recommendations and working together for real change at the Capitol.”

The commission includes 12 voting members who must have experience in substance abuse prevention, health care, mental health, law enforcement, local government, first responder work, or similar fields. They will review local, state, and federal initiatives and activities related to education, prevention, treatment, and services for people and families affected by substance use disorders and make funding recommendations to the Legislature.

The Senate majority leader and speaker of the House each appoint four members, and the Senate minority leader and House minority leader each appoint one member to the commission. The Senate majority leader and House speaker also select a member from a list of three nominees provided by the governor and a member from a list provided by the attorney general.

The four commission members appointed by Shirkey are:

  • Katharine M. Hude, executive director of the Michigan Association of Treatment Court Professionals.
  • Cara Poland, medical director of addiction medicine at Spectrum Health and assistant professor at Michigan State University.
  • Kyle Rambo, CEO of Catholic Social Services of the Upper Peninsula.
  • Cameron Risma, medical director and addiction psychiatrist at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services.

The four commission members appointed by Wentworth are:

  • Judge Linda Davis, executive director of Families Against Narcotics.
  • Mario Nanos, president of Families Against Narcotics.
  • Patrick Patterson, executive director of Mid-Michigan Recovery Services Inc.
  • Scott Masi, president of Unite to Face Addiction – Michigan.

Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint, appointed Kelly Ainsworth, project manager for the Greater Flint Health Coalition, and House Minority Leader Donna Lasinski, D-Scio Township, appointed Bradley Casemore, CEO of Southwest Michigan Behavioral Health.

The appointee recommended by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is Mona Makki, director of ACCESS Community Health and Research Center, and the appointee recommended by Attorney General Dana Nessel is Sarah Stoddard, assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing.

The commission must provide a report by March 30 each year with evidence-based funding and policy recommendations that will best help the state and its residents in dealing with the damage caused by the opioid epidemic.

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