WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — Metro Health University of Michigan Health is helping in the fight against the opioid epidemic by sending overdose patients home with lifesaving Narcan for use in the event they overdose again.
A grant from the Metro Health Hospital Foundation is paying for the kits, which will be offered to all patients treated for opioid overdoses at the hospital.
Each kit contains two doses of Narcan — a delivery system for the drug naloxone, which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose — instructions in English, Bosnian and Spanish, and a list of community resources.
“At Metro Health, we have a duty to save lives,” said Dawn Coval, the nurse educator for Metro Health. “Across the country, we are experiencing an opioid crisis.”
In 2015, more than 33,000 people died because of opioids; nearly half stemmed from prescription opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At least 84 people in Kent County were among those who died.
Metro Health said of the 285 drug overdoses it treated in 2015, 190 were actually or potentially related to opioids. Coval said research shows that patients who overdose are more likely to overdose again.
Doctors cautioned they do not encourage improper drug use, but said they want to be proactive in eliminating barriers that would normally prevent drug overdose patients from quick access to Narcan.
Metro Health University of Michigan Health says anyone who uses Narcan to reverse an overdose should still call 911 for emergency medical care.
–24 Hour News 8’s Leon Hendrix contributed to this report.
Download: Opioid overdoses 101 (PowerPoint)