Hope Network hires physician, enhances addiction and recovery services

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Heather Bunting. Courtesy Hope Network

A Grand Rapids nonprofit appointed a physician to help address the growing demand for addiction and recovery services in West Michigan.

As call volumes for addiction services increased since the start of the pandemic, Hope Network hired Dr. Heather Bunting last week. Bunting will serve as a primary care and addiction medicine physician for the organization’s center for recovery and will support the launch of a new primary care program in 2022.

She also will develop addiction services for adolescents, another area seeing increased calls for services.

Prior to joining Hope Network, Bunting served in family and addiction medicine at Mercy Health, Heartside Health Center and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.

“Hope Network is focused on serving the community’s needs, and that’s why we are increasing our efforts in the areas of addiction and recovery,” said Tim Becker, COO of Hope Network. “Dr. Bunting’s strong background in these areas makes her a perfect choice to enable Hope Network to help more people as we move forward.”

The organization offered research findings from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) showing more than 100,000 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. between April 2020 and April 2021 and noting a 28.5% increase in such deaths.

Other NCHS statistics:

  • In 2019, 7.7% of U.S. adults reported having a substance use disorder in the past year.
  • In 2020, 13% of U.S. adults reported either starting or increasing substance use since
    COVID-19 started.
  • Specific to West Michigan, the number of fatal overdoses in spring 2020 doubled from the same period in 2019.
  • In 2020, local large health care systems reported a 20% increase in daily inquiries regarding substance abuse treatment.

More information about Hope Network and its services is online.

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