News & Events

August 16, 2020

The Solution to Addiction in Michigan’s Copper Country

Today in the Portage Health Foundation Addiction Series we’re looking optimistically at what our community can be, and is, doing to combat the effects of addiction in the Copper Country. You’ll hear many voices in today’s episode, starting with Rebecca Crane from Dial Help, then Bernadette Yeoman-Ouellette and Kevin Store from Portage Health Foundation, former addict Nikki Collins, Houghton police chief John Donnelly, Mark Maggio from the Phoenix House and eventually Dr. Adam Frimodig from UP Health System. The search for answers is still on, but this insight provides a vision into the future of how addiction is being addressed in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

You can watch the video above, or listen to the audio version below.

Highlights from Episode 9

Rebecca Crane, Dial Help

  • “Early intervention is really critical.”
  • “More service providers, in general, is probably the biggest thing, especially for youth and women.”
  • “Addressing some of those critical gaps that we have in service provisions would be huge.”
  • “Become educated and also to, in a non-judgemental and non-stigmatized way, encourage the people in your life to reach out to us, the phoenix house, all the providers because treatment is available. And we can help them get connected to those things.”

Bernadette Yeoman-Ouellette, Portage Health Foundation

  • “We can do much better in this community in how we treat (addiction).”
  • “Broadening our outlook on how best to deal with an addict.” 
  • “We have to further educate for our physicians on how to best deal with pain management, which doesn’t always have to mean an opioid.”

Kevin Store, Portage Health Foundation

  • “We need to have a lot more “Yes, and” conversations. ‘Yes that’s a solution, and we can do this.’ ‘Yes that’s a good idea and we can do this as opposed to the partisan conversations that have been happening that keep us from coming together.”

Nikki Collins, Former Addict / Current Business Owner

  • “We need a community detox.”
  • “Everybody making a conscious decision every day on how you can help out.”

John Donnelly, Houghton Police Department

  • “Try to be understanding that if somebody does have an addiction problem, that doesn’t make them a bad person.”
  • “Try to be open minded, that it can happen to people.”

Mark Maggio, Executive Director of Phoenix House

  • “People present with much more than just a substance-abuse problem, they have life problems. They have Employment issues, relationship issues, health issues and mental health issues.”
  • “Treating the whole person simultaneously seems to be the best practice.”

Dr. Adam Frimodig, UP Health System

  • “Get rid of a lot of barriers that are there, get people into the places with the care they deserve.”
  • “There’s a strong recovery community up here that are willing to help. People just need to take that first step.”

Looking Ahead

Thanks to all of those who shared their vision on a better future dealing with addiction. We hope you will consider these things in your future as you try to be part of the solution in our community.

In episode 10 we’ll look at the overarching effects addiction has on our community.

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 to 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. 

How to Get Help

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, know that there are resources available in our community. Dial Help is a great place to start as they have a crisis line available 24 hours a day, seven days a week based here in the Copper Country. You can call 906-482-HELP, text 906-35NEEDS or chat live at