2017-08-10 / Local News

County plans drug ‘summit’


COUNTY COMMISSIONERS this week discussed organizing a Leelanau County “substance abuse summit” before the end of the year. Pictured are, from left, District No. 1 Commissioner Tony Ansorge, District No. 4 Commissioner Ty Wessell, District No. 5 Commissioner Patricia Soutas-Little, District No. 7 Commissioner Melinda Lautner, District No.3 Commissioner and County Board Chairman Will Bunek. District No. 2 Commissioner Debra Rushton was absent from the Tuesday morning meeting. COUNTY COMMISSIONERS this week discussed organizing a Leelanau County “substance abuse summit” before the end of the year. Pictured are, from left, District No. 1 Commissioner Tony Ansorge, District No. 4 Commissioner Ty Wessell, District No. 5 Commissioner Patricia Soutas-Little, District No. 7 Commissioner Melinda Lautner, District No.3 Commissioner and County Board Chairman Will Bunek. District No. 2 Commissioner Debra Rushton was absent from the Tuesday morning meeting. The Leelanau County Board of Commissioners hopes to host a local “substance abuse summit” before the end of 2017 in keeping with one of the goals it set for itself at the beginning of the year.

A committee of board members is slated to host an Aug. 28 planning session for the summit and has invited local judges, law enforcement officials, medical professionals, school officials, and others, to help plan the summit.

“We’re obviously not immune to substance abuse problems in Leelanau County, and the issue is much bigger than just the County Board,” said county administrator Chet Janik. “Everyone I’ve contacted about this so far is very enthusiastic about moving forward with us,” he said.

The summit is expected be held this fall on a date to be announced.

In January, District No. 2 Commissioner Debra Rushton suggested the county add a substance abuse “goal” to its formal list of County Board goals for 2017. She said opiate addiction in Leelanau County and throughout Michigan was worsening along with ongoing alcohol abuse issues. She said the board ought to do something to help create a plan focused on addressing the problem through education, prevention and intervention.

The rest of the board agreed but did little until last month when it decided to move forward. Rushton and District No. 4 Commissioner Ty Wessell formed a committee which is inviting other officials to a planning session later this month.

“I’m encouraged we’ll have a very successful summit,” said Wessell.

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