GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Narcan demonstrated how it can saves lives last month when Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller saved two men from overdosing.
With the opioid epidemic continuing to grow, addiction and recovery services are now more important than ever.
“Educating people on non-opioid alternatives, providing primary prevention education in our schools is important, and also making available a prescription medication known as Naloxone,” Dr. Ken Fawcett, vice president of Spectrum Health’s Healthier Communities said.
Narcan is widely available and in many cases, free. The Red Project, who serves seven West Michigan counties, is one of those resources.
“Most counties, we’re there once or twice a month where this is accessible to the community. They come in, they sit (and) watch a 20-minute video, we go through some paper work with them, train them how to use the kit and they walk away with a rescue kit for free,” said Brandon Hool, an overdose prevention and response specialist at Red Project.
Many pharmacies and health care providers are also options to obtain the drug. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has created a map to help people find participating pharmacies.
“Any physician, any nurse practitioner, and physician’s assistant and dentist can actually write a prescription for this stuff,” Hool said.
The Center for Disease Control recently looked at total deaths from 2001 to 2016, and found opioid deaths jumped up 292 percent.
By 2016, 20 percent of deaths of people age 24-35 were related to painkillers.
Hool says that as the opioid epidemic gets worse, learning about Narcan is now more important than ever.
“There’s a lot of people dying right now so a lot of people should probably have these,” he said.
More information on overdose prevention in West Michigan can be found on the Red Project’s website.