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Central Michigan health department offers free Narcan

Staff at the Central Michigan District Health Department are recognizing an upcoming day set aside to remember those who have died of drug overdoses.

Aug. 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day, and CMDHD staff wants to remind the public of the harm that drugs inflict on society, and to remember the victims of overdoses and their loved ones.

Shelby Pasch, CMDHD health promotion supervisor, said Narcan should be in every first aid kit, and that the day is set aside to try to reduce the stigma attached to overdoses because those attitudes suppress efforts to raise awareness around overdose deaths by unfairly blaming those struggling with substance use disorder.

“CMDHD offers Narcan for free to anyone through our syringe service program, Exchange Central, at all six of our county locations,” Pasch said. “Narcan is a potentially lifesaving medication designed to help reverse the effects of an opioid overdose in minutes.

“Since most overdoses happen in the home, having Narcan nearby can make all the difference.”

Overdose deaths throughout the state continue to rise, Pasch said, and central Michigan is not immune.

In 2020, an estimated 284 million people – one in every 18 people aged 15-64 – had used a drug in the past 12 months, a 26 percent increase from 2010. Opioids account for two-thirds (69%) of drug overdose deaths.

The estimated number of people using opioids globally has doubled from 26-36 million people in 2010 to 61.3 million in 2020.

There are currently multiple ongoing opioid overdose epidemics in the world; one is driven by the increased presence of the synthetic opioid fentanyl in the United States and Canada, Pasch said.

In the United States in 2021, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention yielded an estimate of 107,622 drug overdose deaths in the United States, an increase of 15 percent from 2020.

Two-thirds of these deaths involved synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl. The United States reported an age-adjusted mortality of 216 per 1 million people for the 15–64-year age bracket for 2019.

For more information about getting Narcan, fentanyl test strips, or other safe supplies for free through CMDHD’s program Exchange Central, call or text (989) 259-4549.

You can also visit Exchange Central’s harm reduction vending machine, located at 4273 Corporate Way in Mt. Pleasant.

Source : Morning Sun