Michigan will offer 50,000+ free naloxone kits at pharmacies statewide Saturday

Naloxone hydrochloride (NARCAN) | Photo Source: Stephanie Alvarez Ewens / CVS / MGN

LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) are partnering with the Michigan Celebrate Recovery Walk and Rally and pharmacies statewide on Saturday, Sept. 14, to save lives.

MDHHS is providing more than 50,000 free naloxone kits to anyone who needs the life-saving drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. Residents can pick up a kit at one of over 1,000 participating pharmacies, at no cost, with no need for a prescription, insurance, or identification.

Saturday is expected to be the largest single-day distribution of naloxone in Michigan as well as among the largest in the nation. Michigan is one of the few states to host a Naloxone Distribution Day offering free and anonymous access to thousands of kits.

MDHHS purchased 55,008 kits of NARCAN® Nasal Spray, which is the brand of naloxone being provided. Nearly 52,000 kits are being shipped to pharmacies statewide (see map) for distribution this Saturday. MDHHS will distribute the remaining 3,000 kits at the Michigan Celebrate Recovery Walk and Rally, which begins with registration at 10:30 a.m. Saturday on Belle Isle in Detroit.

“This is a great day for people across the state who need access to a safe recovery,” Gov. Whitmer said. “It’s on all of us to ensure every Michigander struggling with addiction has the treatment they need to lead safe, healthy lives. I’m excited for this partnership and ready to work with everyone who wants to help us continue to build a stronger Michigan.”

Saturday’s event builds on the Governor’s Aug. 21 Executive Order announcing the new Michigan Opioids Task Force, which will bring together resources from across state government to coordinate and enhance the response to the opioid epidemic. A pillar of the state’s strategy is making naloxone more accessible to residents who suffer from opioid use disorder and to their loved ones who have the potential to save a life. Mounting evidence illustrates that getting naloxone into the hands of the people closest to those at risk of an overdose saves lives.

“Naloxone is safe to use and can save the life of someone experiencing an opioid overdose,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health, who is leading the Opioid Task Force. “We want all friends and family members of those who may struggle with an opioid use disorder to get naloxone and be equipped to save a life.”

The opioid epidemic continues to devastate Michigan families, with 2,053 opioid overdose deaths in the state in 2017.

The over 1,000 pharmacies participating in naloxone distribution include several major chains as well as local, independent pharmacies.

At the Michigan Celebrate Recovery Walk and Rally, former NFL player Randy Grimes will share his experience, strength and hope as a person in long-term recovery. The rally is to celebrate recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs.

For more information on Michigan’s efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, visit Michigan.gov/opioids.