PONTIAC, Mich. (WXYZ) — Overdose-reversing drug naloxone will be offered for free to inmates being discharged from the Oakland County Jail.
The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday announced that naloxone, also known as Narcan, will be available through vending machines that were recently installed. Inmates will be told during the release process that they can take a Narcan nasal kit with them for personal use or to help a family member who may be dependent on opioids.
“We have seen a significant increase in opioid deaths and instances where law enforcement is called on during a crisis,” Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in a statement. “This is a nationwide crisis as it was just announced we have hit an all-time high in overdose deaths in the last 12 months. This is everyone’s problem. This program gives us one more tool to help our residents. We have an opportunity to save lives and provide a second chance.”
The kit has two doses of the medication and instructions on how to use it.
The sheriff’s office said it's among the first in Michigan to participate in the project through Wayne State University’s School of Social Work and its Center for Behavioral Health and Justice. The vending machines were purchased by the center through a grant program. Typically, the kits cost about $75 each.
The sheriff’s office says the county in 2020 had 255 drug-related deaths and 211 of those involved opioids. They also said there were 67 instances where Narcan was used to revive people.
Through October 2021, the sheriff’s office said deputies used rescue kits 124 times. The life-saving efforts were successful in all but eight incidents.
Authorities also warned of overdoses recently involving marijuana laced with fentanyl.