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Addiction Series E1- Addiction, The Problem

Addiction is something we don’t often talk about, but as we’re about to find out, the issue is a very real one in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Over the next 13 episodes of Portage Health Foundation’s Addiction Series, we’ll talk about what addiction is, how it happens, the many effects it has on the person, their friends and family, and the community as a whole. We’ll also talk about what’s being done to address it, offer solutions for those who are struggling or know someone who is, and we’ll help you better understand what you can do to help.

In this first episode, we’ll hear from the Portage Health Foundation’s Executive Director Kevin Store, and the chairperson for the Foundation Bernadette Yeoman-Ouellette. We’ll also hear from Rebecca Crane, executive director at Dial Help on how this problem has evolved in the last decade.

Highlights from Episode 1

Rebecca Crane, Dial Help

  • “In 2017 we had over 1,500 calls related to substance abuse or alcohol.”
    • Suicide calls to Dial Help in 2017 made up 13 percent of their calls after being only 2 percent in prior years.
    • “The problems are only getting deeper.”
    • “The community has to come together. Everybody needs to have of a role together otherwise it will only escalate.”

Kevin Store, PHF Executive Director

  • “The financial implications that addiction has on our community is actually quite overwhelming.”
  • “We have a real issue. Virtually all aspects of our community are affected. This is our problem.”

Bernadette Yeoman-Ouellette, PHF Board Chair

  • “Addiction kills more people than auto accidents and gun homicides combined in this country. Being in a rural community, we’re not immune to the problem, we have higher rates of addiction per capita than metro areas.”
  • “We can’t hide from this issue anymore. We have to confront it. We have to work together as a community to address it. Until we do that, it’s only going to continue to expand in our community and take much more of a toll on our community.”

Thank you to Kevin, Bernadette and Rebecca for sharing your experiences with this serious issue. We hope you found the first of 13 episodes in the Portage Health Foundation’s Addiction Series to be enlightening.

Looking Ahead - In the next episode we’ll meet a former addict and talk with two service providers in our area about how addiction is a disease that affects the brain of those suffering from it.

More About PHF’s Addiction Series - Visit to see a list of all episodes, find resources on addiction in our community and to subscribe to receive an email when the next episode drops. Be sure to subscribe the Portage Health Foundation’s YouTube channel to never miss a video episode or find PHF Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts to catch the audio version of this podcast.