Nationwide opioid overdoses have hit record highs. The most recent overdose data recorded in Michigan shows nearly 3,000 people died in 12 months. Harm reduction solutions are an increasingly discussed topic around addiction and drug control. In the Upper Peninsula, UPSET teams are working with NorthCare Network to educate the public about the impacts of opioids in the community.
UPSET acknowledges that law enforcement and harm reduction are tools who must work together. In 2016, Michigan passed the Naloxone Standing Order Act. The law allows residents to receive naloxone at any pharmacy, no questions asked. And although naloxone doesn’t prevent an overdose, it can prevent someone’s death.
Finding a path to healing is different for each individual. And educating residents on what to look for and do in an emergency is a key part of a community in recovery. Law enforcement and NorthCare Network want to share resources for people to recover and reduce the number of overdoses.
In the Upper Peninsula, each health department has a clean needle service program and includes Narcan distribution. Two of the departments also specialize in harm reduction education. Specialists train people on how to use life-saving drugs and provide information on how to obtain naloxone from the state Department of Health and Human Services.
The goal of harm reduction programs is to minimize the number of overdoses in an area. And reduce the amount of disease spread by sharing needles. UPSET focuses on drug law enforcement. Naturally, the call of duty puts officers in touch with users, allowing them to refer them to drug treatment programs when possible.
Sholander ended our interview on this note.
harm reduction resources;
Keweenaw Report has contacted a number of pharmacies in Houghton, Baraga and Ontonagon counties to confirm that naloxone is available for pickup. Each pharmacy manager said they were fully stocked and an individual would only have to ask for the medicine. Official map of MDHHS pharmacies.
NorthCare Network Substance Abuse DiOrder Providers
WUPHD Syringe services
Set up an education seminar with UPSET at 906 228 1002, Lt./D. Tim Sholander