Jail vending machine provides naloxone to discharged inmates

November 18, 2021 GMT

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — A jail in southeastern Michigan has a vending machine that dispenses kits designed to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses.

Naloxone nasal rescue kits are available free of charge to inmates being discharged from the Oakland County Jail in Pontiac, the sheriff’s office said Thursday.

As part of the release process, deputies advise discharged inmates they can take the kits for personal use or for a family member who may be dependent on opioids.

Naloxone commonly is referred to as Narcan.

The Narcan project is through Wayne State University’s School of Social Work and its Center for Behavioral Health and Justice, the sheriff’s office said.

The center purchased the vending machines through grant funding. The Narcan kits each contain two doses of medication and instructions for use. They are provided at no cost to the jail by Michigan’s Health and Human Services department.

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The project is patterned after a program in Los Angeles in which about 30,000 individual doses were distributed in 2020.

Oakland County is north and northwest of Detroit. In 2020, there were 255 drug-related deaths in the county. Of that number, opioids were present in 211 deaths.

Oakland County deputies have used Narcan rescue kits on 124 occasions through October of this year. They were successful in all but eight instances, the sheriff’s office said.