Nationwide opioid overdoses have reached record highs. The most recent data recording overdoses in Michigan show close to 3,000 people died in a 12 month period. Harm reduction solutions are an increasing topic of discussion around addiction and drug enforcement. In the Upper Peninsula, UPSET teams work with NorthCare Network to educate the public on the impacts of opioids in the community.
UPSET recognizes that enforcement and harm reduction are tools that need to work together. Back in 2016 Michigan passed the Naloxone Standing Order Law. The law allows residents to receive naloxone from any pharmacy, no questions asked. And while naloxone won’t prevent an overdose, it can stop someone’s death.
Finding a path to recovery is different for each individual. And educating residents on what to look for and to do in an emergency is a key part of a recovering community. Law enforcement and NorthCare Network want to share resources for people to get better and reduce the number of overdoses.
In the Upper Peninsula, each health department has a clean syringe service program, and includes Narcan distribution. Two of the departments also specialize in harm reduction education. Specialists train people on how to use the life saving medication, and provide information on how to get naloxone from the state’s 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 diseases spread by sharing syringes. UPSET is focused on enforcing drug laws. Naturally the call of duty, puts officers in contact with users, and that allows them to point them toward addiction programs when possible.
Sholander ended our interview on this note.
Harm Reduction Resources;
Keweenaw Report reached out to a number of pharmacies in Houghton, Baraga, and Ontonagon counties to confirm naloxone is available for pick up. Each pharmacy manager said they are fully stocked, and an individual would only need to ask for the medication. MDHHS official pharmacies map.
NorthCare Network Substance Use Disorder Providers
WUPHD Syringe Services
Set up a Education Seminar with UPSET at 906 228 1002, Lt./D. Tim Sholander