Michigan health officials to provide free naloxone to organizations, individuals

Naloxone is used to reverse opioid overdoses

A box of the overdose antidote Naloxone Hydrochloride sits on a counter at a Walgreens store on February 2, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) launched an online portal where organizations can request free naloxone, a medication that reverses opioid overdoses and saves lives.

According to health officials, opioid overdoses killed more than 2,000 Michiganders in 2018. A recent study found that only 25 percent of people using opioids in southeast Michigan had access to naloxone.

READ: What is Narcan? Could it fix the country’s opioid epidemic?

“Getting naloxone into the hands of people who are most likely to be able to save a life is important,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “MDHHS is proud to partner with community organizations to make it as easy as possible to access free naloxone, reducing the devastation caused by the overdose epidemic.”

Organizations can click here to request free naloxone

The portal is for community organizations statewide, including substance use treatment providers, non-profits, harm reduction organizations, jails, first responders, local governments and small businesses.

MDHHS will review the organizations’ plans for distributing naloxone and make a decision. If approved, the organization will receive naloxone by mail; shipments are in increments of 12 kits.

Individuals can request free naloxone

NEXT Naloxone has with MDHHS to offer individuals free naloxone delivered by mail. NEXT Naloxone is 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.

NEXT Naloxone is available in Michigan through funding from Vital Strategies and a partnership with the harm-reduction organization The Grand Rapids Red Project. Individuals can place an order for mail delivery at Naloxoneforall.org/michigan.

READ: Naloxone available over the counter at registered Michigan pharmacies

MDHHS has also released a memorandum on the state’s strategy and guidance on naloxone distribution.

MDHHS recommends that organizations distributing naloxone:

  • Target distribution to individuals actively using opioids: Individuals actively using opioids are most likely to need naloxone – and are often best placed to respond immediately to overdoses.
  • Ensure that individuals at highest risk of overdose have naloxone: Some individuals face heightened risk of overdose and equipping them with naloxone is especially impactful, including individuals leaving incarceration, individuals leaving abstinence-based treatment or detoxification programs, individuals who experience a non-fatal overdose and post-partum women.
  • Make it as easy as possible to access naloxone: Providing easy access, by distributing naloxone at locations individuals using substances already visit and addressing stigma, maximizes the chances that an individual in active use will successfully obtain it.

Click here for more information

About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.