Your Health: Preventing drug overdoses

Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 5:27 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - With skyrocketing numbers of opioid overdoses and deaths, including right here in Mid-Michigan, public health experts and communities nationwide have tried to develop programs to distribute Narcan.

Narcan can help reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

In 2020, 44 Americans died every day from a prescription opioid overdose, 16,000 in one year. 100,000 Americans died from illegal, or street opioids - like fentanyl, last year.

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati paired with the nonprofit group Caracole to provide supplies from what they call “harm reduction vending machines.”

Safer injection kits, injectable naloxone and more are all readily available in a secure machine that resembles a vending machine. People call a number to get a code to access supplies.

Suzanne Bachmeyer and Daniel Arendt know that it may feel counterintuitive to provide free naloxone and fentanyl test strips to people struggling with addiction, but they disagree.

“We do not believe that providing supplies to keep people safe, to keep people from overdosing and to keep people from contracting infectious diseases, enables them in any way,” Bachmeyer said.

The vending machine has been operational for two years. More than one thousand people have used it and researchers said it’s contributing to a decrease in overdose deaths in Cincinnati and the surrounding area.

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