Calling turning the tide of opioid deaths a priority for her administration, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the Michigan Opioids Task Force, and the Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS released guidance Monday on distributing naloxone to those who need it.
The two-page document outlines the need to get the overdose-reversing drug into the hands of those who need it the most – those Michiganders who are actively using opioids, and those at high risk of overdosing.
“Naloxone saves many lives by reversing the effects of an opioid overdose and is an integral aspect of Michigan’s response to the opioid epidemic. However, a recent study found that only 25 percent of individuals using opioids in southeast Michigan had access to naloxone.1 Expanding naloxone access, especially for individuals at high risk of overdosing, is imperative. This brief outlines MDHHS’s strategy and tactics for naloxone distribution. MDHHS encourages all groups distributing naloxone to adopt similar tactics,” the guidance said.
By getting naloxone to active users, not only would they be able to save themselves, but also may be able to save the life of someone they are using with, the report said.
The report also identified those who are at high risk of overdose – those who are using opioids intravenously, opioid users leaving incarceration, those users who have been in abstinence-based treatment or detoxification programs, those who have experienced a non-fatal overdose and post-partum women with a history of opioid use disorder.
The guidelines suggested making naloxone as easy to get as possible, including making it accessible in areas where active opioid users would be, like health departments, community groups, and treatment offices, but also in places like motels, liquor stores, bus stations, libraries, homeless shelters, and corner markets.
Health officials also recommended naloxone be provided to those leaving jails or prisons, those who have survived an overdose, and those using syringe service programs.