LANSING, Mich. – The U.S. surgeon general is recommending that more Americans carry naloxone and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley is reminding Michiganders about the potentially life-saving drug and encouraging them to be prepared.
“The addiction epidemic is affecting every community in our state and proactive efforts will help provide more second chances and fewer funerals,” Calley said. “Naloxone’s availability without a prescription may be the difference between life and death and I encourage more Michiganders to take advantage of the availability of this overdose antidote.”
The standing order has been in effect since May 2017 and is part of the state’s strategy for addressing the opioid epidemic in Michigan. The order allows registered pharmacies to distribute naloxone to those at risk of an opioid-related overdose. Family members, friends and other persons who may be able to assist a person at risk of an overdose can also receive naloxone as well.
“The standing order is helping ensure naloxone is available when and where it is needed,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “I urge those who are at risk of an opioid-related overdose, as well as their loved ones, to utilize this standing order and be prepared to administer this potentially life-saving drug.”
Since the standing order was issued, Michigan pharmacies have dispensed more than 7,000 orders of naloxone. More than 55 percent of the state’s 2,797 pharmacies with controlled substance licenses -- a total of 1,546 -- are registered to dispense naloxone under the order.
Similar to the rest of the nation, Michigan has seen an increase in opioid-related deaths. From 1999 to 2016, 7,300 people have died from an opioid overdose with more than 60 percent of those deaths occurring since 2010.
Previously, naloxone was available only to those who received a prescription from their doctor. In recent years, law enforcement and first responders have increased their capacity to administer naloxone to address the opioid addiction. With the current standing order, individuals in need of naloxone can receive it from a registered pharmacy without a prescription.
When someone picks up naloxone from a pharmacy, they will also receive information on steps for responding to an opioid overdose and important information about where to go for further treatment.
The state is using available tools to fight the opioid epidemic. There are efforts related to prevention and treatment of patients, education of health professionals and enforcement of overprescribers.
- Providing online resources for patients, health professionals and communities about prevention and treatment of opioid abuse.
- The Michigan Automated Prescription System provides real-time prescription data and resources to better assess a patient’s risk for substance use disorder.
- Assistance with proper drug disposal of unwanted medications.
- Michigan State Police posts serving as drug-take back sites and providing the Angel Program for individuals struggling with addiction.
These efforts are advised by the Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Commission, which is made up of health professionals, law enforcement officers, substance abuse treatment providers, government officials and citizens.
For more information about opioids and the additional steps residents can take to protect themselves and loved ones, visit Michigan.gov/stopoverdoses.