top of page


In 2011 Washtenaw County saw 

29 opioid overdose deaths

In 2013 there were 46. The trend continued to accelerate.
In three years the number of deaths more than doubled.

2014 brought 

65 opioid overdose deaths

into our community.

In our own community and across the country opioid overdose deaths were reaching epidemic levels - in 2015 more people died of an opioid overdose than in car accidents.

The Washtenaw Health Initiative (WHI) Opioid Project intends to change that. We bring together community members, law enforcement, public health, hospitals, community mental health, treatment facilities, and other providers to end this epidemic.


We use the Project Lazarus model and believe that communities are ultimately responsible for their own health. The WHI Opioid Project and Project Lazarus believe that every drug overdose is preventable. Using experience, data, and compassion we strive to prevent drug overdoses and meet the needs of those living with chronic pain.


The success of the WHI Opioid Project depends on community knowledge, support, and involvement. In recent years the Opioid Project has seen many successes in the fight against the opioid overdose epidemic. For the first time in 5 years Washtenaw County saw a decrease in its overdose rate; in 2015 the number of overdoses dropped by 25 percent. However, in 2016 overdoses spiked again to 61.

There is still more to be done...

The WHI Opioid Project believes that 61 deaths is 61 too many. So The WHI Opioid Project is calling on the community for help. Every person has a part to play in ending this epidemic in Washtenaw County. Get involved, make a difference, and help Washtenaw discover change.


Email us using the Contact page for more information about getting involved in one of the WHI Opioid Project workgroups.

Opioid Project Workgoups

(modeled after the Project Lazarus):

  • Addiction and Treatment

  • Community Education

  • Provider Education

  • Hospital Emergency Department Policies

  • Diversion Control

  • Patient Pain Support

  • Harm Reduction

About the Washtenaw Health Initiative Opioid Project

Our Team
Sara Szczotka
WHI Opioid Project Co-Chair

Program Manager of the Washtenaw Recovery Advocacy Project at Home of New Vision

Sara Szczotka manages the Washtenaw Recovery Advocacy Project through Home of New Vision. She is a Certified Peer Recovery Mentor through MCBAP and is a state certified trainer for MDHHS’s Peer Recovery Coach certification program. Sarah holds a Bachelor’s of Science from Eastern Michigan University.

Alyssa Tumolo
WHI Opioid Project Co-Chair

Grants Coordinator

Community Mental Health Partnership of SE Michigan

Hill 2 - fave.jpg
Matt Hill
Program Manager - Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation

Matthew Hill is a program manager for the Center for Health and Research Transformation. He manages all Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and Mental Health related programs that fall under the Washtenaw Health Initiative (WHI). In doing so, Matthew supports the WHI Opioid Project, a community based coalition that aims to help address the opioid epidemic locally, as well as the Washtenaw County SUD System Transformation Initiative.


Prior to joining CHRT, Matthew managed the Washtenaw Recovery Advocacy Project, a recovery community organization that worked to eliminate the stigma surrounding SUD, provide community education, and create a recovery oriented community in Washtenaw County. Matthew holds a bachelor’s degree in biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience from the University of Michigan.

Alyssa Tumolo is a Grants Coordinator for Community Mental Health Partnership of Southeast Michigan. She has experience in working with both Federal and State grants in youth prevention, gambling disorder prevention, and substance use services grants. Alyssa holds a Bachelor’s of Science from Ferris State University.


Ann Arbor Treatment Services

Need more details? Contact the Opioid Project

We are here to help people get involved in ending the opioid epidemic.

Want to find out more about treatment?

Washtenaw County's treatment facilities are can help you recover.

Page material references the following sources:​

bottom of page