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.
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
Hospital Emergency Department Policies
Patient Pain Support
About the Washtenaw Health Initiative Opioid Project
Nicole Adelman, MPH
WHI Opioid Project Co-Chair
Director of Clinical and Substance Use Disorder Services
Community Mental Health Partnership of Southeast MI
Nicole Adelman is clinical and substance use disorders services director at the Community Mental Health Partnership of Southeast Michigan. Prior to this role, she served as executive director of the Corner Health Center, executive director for the Interfaith Hospitality Network at Alpha House, and VP of education and training for Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan.
Carrie Rheingans, MPH, MSW
Washtenaw Health Initiative Project Manager
Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation
Carrie Rheingans is the project manager for The Washtenaw Health Initiative which houses the WHI Opioid Project. The WHI is a voluntary, county-wide collaboration focused on how to improve access to coordinated care for the low-income, uninsured, and Medicaid populations. The effort includes representatives from the University of Michigan Health System, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, health plans, county government, community services, physicians, and safety net providers. More than 80 organizations and 200 individuals participate.
Jimena Loveluck, MPH
WHI Opioid Project Co-Chair
Washtenaw County Health Department
Jimena Loveluck is the health office for the Washtenaw County Health Department where she manages the design and implementation of policies, procedures, and programs to promote the health of all Washtenaw County residents. Jimena has extensive public health experience and knowledge in health promotion, community engagement and fighting health disparities.
Matthew Hill, BS
WHI SUD Program Manager
Center for Health and Research 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), a community based coalition that aims to improve care for low-income, uninsured, and underinsured populations across the county. Prior to joining CHRT, Matthew managed the Washtenaw Recovery Advocacy Project, a recovery community organization.
LOCAL TREATMENT PARTNERS
Ann Arbor Treatment Services
Page material references the following sources:
Project Lazarus. (n.d.) About Project Lazarus. Retrieved from
Washtenaw County Michigan. (2016). Opioid and Heroin Overdose Data. Retrieved from