A bi-partisan event held recently helped train legislators and their staff on the proper opioid overdose response methods.
Republican State Representative Hank Vaupel of Fowlerville and Democratic State Representative Kevin Hertel of St. Clair Shores co-chair the House Pharmacy Caucus and hosted the bipartisan event last week. The training session was instructed by Michele Wagner, the President of Mitchell’s Hope. She created the organization in honor of her son who she lost to an accidental opioid overdose in 2014. The organization aims to raise awareness, end stigma and educate the public about the dangers of opioid addiction while also supporting people struggling with opioid dependence. Vaupel, who also chairs the House Health Policy Committee, said Michigan’s opioid epidemic is of great concern to him and all of his colleagues in the Legislature – adding it’s important they educate themselves on the dangers of opioid abuse as well as the possible response available to everyone to combat an overdose.
According to the state Department of Health and Human Services, opioid deaths in Michigan rose from 622 in 2011 to 1,689 in 2016. Vaupel said House lawmakers remain committed to learning about the many ways the system can be improved to prevent opioid-related deaths and addiction. The House Pharmacy Caucus participated in the training session, which provided an overview of how to identify an overdose situation and administer naloxone in response. After completing the training, participants received a Naloxone Rescue Kit provided by MDHHS. In 2016, Michigan passed a Naloxone standing order law, allowing a pharmacist to dispense the opioid antagonist without an individual prescription.
More information about Naloxone and how to identify and respond to an overdose situation can be found through the link provided. (JM)