Daily Briefs . . .

Court rejects appeal from ’80s drug dealer ‘White Boy Rick’

DETROIT (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has turned down an appeal by a Detroit-area drug dealer known as “White Boy Rick,” who wants a new sentence after nearly 30 years in prison for crimes as a teen.

The court let stand an appeals court decision that said Richard Wershe Jr.’s sentence can’t be set aside because it was a legal punishment. The order was released Thursday.

The 46-year-old Wershe has been in prison since he was 18. He was convicted of possessing cocaine and given a life sentence. He’s been eligible for parole, but the parole board hasn’t released him.

A Detroit-area judge last year said Wershe was entitled to a new sentence, noting his age at the time of his crime and other circumstances. But that decision was overturned.


Snyder creates  commission to help curb prescription drug and opioid abuse

To help reduce the opioid epidemic in Michigan and ensure the health and safety of Michigan residents, Gov. Rick Snyder Thursday created the Michigan Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Commission.

The commission, created through Executive Order No. 2016-15, will be comprised of state and independent health experts, and be responsible for monitoring indicators of controlled substance abuse and diversion in the state. The commission also will make recommendations to the governor for actions involving licensing, law enforcement, substance abuse treatment and prevention, education, professional associations and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Serving as an advisory board within the Executive Office, the commission will review the recommendations issued by the Michigan Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Task Force last fall, and develop and propose policies and an action plan to implement recommendations in the report.

“Prescription drug and opioid abuse is a very serious issue impacting people in communities all across our state,” Snyder said. “We need to take action to address this epidemic before addiction takes its toll on more innocent people.”

Chaired by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, the task force examined recent trends, evaluated strategic options and developed the statewide action plan. The creation of this commission was a recommendation of the task force.
The 17-member commission will include individuals representing the medical, psychological, dentistry, pharmaceutical, and veterinary industries, as well as law enforcement, hospice, substance abuse providers, sufferers of chronic pain and the general public.

Membership will consist of one allopathic doctor, one osteopathic doctor, one dentist, one veterinarian, one physician’s assistant, one registered professional nurse, one pharmacist, two law enforcement officers, one psychologist, one representative from a Michigan hospice organization, one chronic pain sufferer, one representative from a Michigan medical school, one representative from a statewide pharmacy association, one representative of pharmaceutical manufacturers, one substance abuse treatment provider, and one member representing the general public.