By KYLE BAILEY, Associated Press MOSCOW (AP) A community of Muskogee University students, some recovering from opioid-related illnesses, got a “safe haven” from the opioid crisis in late August.
The Muskego County School District and the community-based group the Center for Community Medicine took the students and their families to the school’s emergency room on Sept. 15 for emergency tests to confirm they had recovered from the illness.
The test results showed the students had a low number of antibodies to a protein known as CCR5, which can help the body fight infections.
The school said the students’ recovery would allow the district to increase its support to students with opioid-induced illness and the broader community.
“The students were in a very challenging situation, with some of their most challenging circumstances, including having to deal with opioid addiction and addiction to pain medications,” Muskegos Education Commissioner Paul Gorman said.
“So we wanted to provide them with a safe place to come back to.
That was one of the key elements to this.
We want them to come home.
They can come back and be a normal student, or they can go to college.”
Muskegs are about 25 percent African-American, according to the Muskegan Historical Society.
The students were sent to the hospital after their families notified them of their health.
The district and community-supported organizations like the Center on Community Medicine have been sending students with respiratory and other health issues to the facility for treatment for more than a year.
The Center on Health Care is the state agency that helps fund the center.
Gorman praised the students for their bravery.
“We are all very proud of them,” he said.
The hospital had a high volume of opioid-positive patients and they had a very high rate of death, Gorman told The Associated Press.
“There’s nothing we could do to save those people.
We just wanted to give them a safe haven and let them come home.”
The students’ parents told The Musket gawked at the school on Friday as they met with the district.
The family’s attorney, Tom J. Stebbins, said the family was pleased the students were able to get treatment.
“They have a right to a healthy life, and they deserve to be safe,” he told the Musket.
Muskegas and other communities around the country have been grappling with the opioid epidemic.
More than 1,400 people have died from opioid overdoses in the United States this year, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The number of people who died from prescription opioids was up nearly 30 percent in the first half of 2019 compared to the same period last year.