Community organizations can now request free naloxone through a web portal launched by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, is a medication used to prevent opioid overdoses in an emergency.
According to the MDHHS, more than 2,000 Michiganders died of opioid overdoses in 2018, or an average of five per day. Senior opioid strategist Andrea Taverna says she hopes this program will save lives and prevent such a large amount of deaths.
“This could be nonprofit organizations, for example: harm reduction organizations, that advocate for individuals who use drugs, for safety, for decreasing overdoses. This could be substance use disorder treatment providers, or other medical providers who interact with individuals who are using opioids.”
She says these organizations could include even governmental organizations, like county jails.
“So we know that one of the populations that has the highest overdose rates are individuals leaving incarceration. So we’re hopeful that jails, first responders, SUD treatment providers, really a wide range of organizations will take advantage of this.”
Community organizations can request the naloxone through the web portal, which is active now. Taverna says it’s a simple process to request the medication.
“And what we’re really looking for there is just the organization’s plan for distributing the naloxone, how they’ll offer it to individuals who are at high risk of overdose, and how they’ll provide the brief training that’s needed to help individuals understand how to use the naloxone.”
In addition, the MDHHS is also partnering with NEXT Naloxone, a free online service that makes naloxone available to people who use drugs, their families and friends, and others who may witness and respond to an overdose.