Mich. county rejects program to leave naloxone with OD patients
The protocol has been adopted by 18 other counties in Michigan amid a spike in overdoses earlier this year
Hillsdale Daily News, Mich.
HILLSDALE COUNTY, Mich. — Hillsdale County Medical Control Authority has voted 16-6 against a proposed "Leave Behind Naloxone" protocol that would have had paramedics leaving behind the life-saving opioid blocker in homes where someone has overdosed.
"It is unfortunate that stigma regarding substance abuse disorder seems to create resistance against adopting such important measures," commissioner Brad Benzing stated in an email.
Benzing, an advanced emergency medical technician and long-serving firefighter, announced to the Hillsdale County Board of Commissioners earlier this summer that medical control was considering the protocol, which has been adopted by 18 other counties in Michigan amid a spike in overdoses earlier this year.
Rate of overdose has appeared to stabilize, for now, but was felt in rural Hillsdale County, where methamphetamine continues to be the drug of choice for most addicts.
Earlier this summer, Hillsdale City Police Chief Scott Hephner said his officers had received information that overdoses are being caused by methamphetamine laced with either heroin or fentanyl, but officers have not really seen an increased volume of heroin in the streets.
"We're not really running into heroin anymore," Hephner said at the time.
Drug users sometimes knowingly ingest methamphetamine, an upper, mixed with heroin or fentanyl, both downers, for a more intense high called "speed-balling."
However, it is possible drug users are purchasing what they understand to be methamphetamine and have no idea the drug is laced with heroin or fentanyl, police said.
"They're not dying, but they're going down," Hephner said.
Throughout the state, there were 10,763 non-fatal overdoses in 2019. That number climbed to 12,482 in 2020. Thus far in 2021, there have been 6,401. The spike in 2020 came in April, May and June.
There were 335 fatal overdoses in 2019 and 391 in 2020. So far in 2021, there have been 187 fatal overdoses in Michigan.
Michigan Overdose Data to Action Committee, funded through 2023, has set a goal of reducing overdose deaths by 50-percent.
Part of meeting that goal is getting Naloxone o where it can be more rapidly used in the event of an overdose.
While 18 counties have adopted "Leave Behind Naloxone" protocols, others are considering it.
Those suffering from substance abuse disorder or their families still can receive naloxone (or narcan) from participating pharmacies on narcan giveaway days, at no cost.
(c)2021 Hillsdale Daily News, Mich.