Board tables request for naloxone distribution box at DHD#10 building
Tue, 02/14/2023 - 12:33pm caleb
Substance use organizations looking to add another free option for people to pick up Narcan, which can reverse opioid overdoses
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The Crawford County Board of Commissioners tabled for two weeks consideration of a Narcan distribution box requested for the front of the District Health Department #10 facility located on Norway Street in Grayling.
Lynda Rutkowski of Up North Prevention, along with a representative from District Health Department #10, spoke to the commissioners about the request during the board’s regular meeting on Thursday, February 9.
Rutkowski said the Health Department is looking to add the Narcan distribution box to the front area of its Grayling building (outside, on county property) with a partnership with Harm Reduction Michigan, which would monitor the box and refill it when needed.
Narcan (naloxone nasal spray) is a “medication designed to help reverse the effects of an opioid overdose in minutes,” according to www.narcan.com.
“Harm Reduction Michigan is a health equity organization based in Michigan. Harm Reduction Michigan’s mission is to decrease substance use-related harms in Michigan, in a respectful manner in collaboration with people who use drugs and alcohol,” according to harmreductionmi.org. “Catholic Human Services Up North Prevention initiative was developed to provide a unified approach to reducing substance use disorders in northern Michigan,” according to Catholic Human Services.
The “box” would be a repurposed newspaper vending machine, officials said.
Rutkowski said Narcan in the box would be available at no cost. Rutkowski said opioid overdoses can occur for a variety of reasons, including accidental ingestion of too much prescription medication or an OD from someone with substance use disorder, and people having access to naloxone can save lives.
“We never know when an overdose will happen,” Rutkowski said.
Rutkowski said free Narcan is currently available at The Medicine Shoppe pharmacy in Grayling, the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department, and the City of Grayling Police Department, but having another source – one at which people would not have to interact with anyone – could be beneficial. The box would not be locked, she said.
“We would like to offer this box in town as an additional resource,” Rutkowski said.
Rutkowski said high temperatures and low temperatures do not seem to harm the efficacy of Narcan, so it would be okay for the box to be outside.
Rutkowski said Narcan has no effect on someone who has not used opioids and there is nothing in it “that would allow someone to get high.”
Rutkowski said the endeavor would not incur a cost to the county.
Sheriff Ryan Swope asked about surveillance of the box and if taking a large amount of Narcan could harm someone. Sheriff Swope said the Narcan available through the Sheriff’s Department at the jail facility is “monitored.”
Rutkowski said if a person is allergic to an ingredient in naloxone, a large amount of Narcan could be a problem for them.
A representative from District Health Department #10 said the proposed box for the Narcan would offer the naloxone “24 hours a day” and people could “plan ahead” to get doses in case of an emergency.
“It would be nice for people to have an additional resource where they don’t have to face somebody,” said District #2 Commissioner Dorothy A. Frederick.
Commissioner Frederick moved to allow the box to be placed at District Health Department #10 as requested. District #6 Commissioner Sherry M. Powers supported the motion.
After discussion about liability, District #3 Commissioner Shelly Pinkelman moved to table the matter for two weeks until the next regular board meeting. The motion to table the request passed 4-0 (three board members absent).