Michigan jail’s vending machine dispenses naloxone to discharged inmates

PONTIAC, Mich. — Inmates discharged from a Michigan jail have the option to obtain free naloxone rescue kits, authorities said.

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The vending machine at the Oakland County Jail in Pontiac was recently installed in the discharge area of the facility, WJBK reported.

Naloxone, commonly referred to as Narcan, is used to reverse an opioid overdose, the television station reported. The kits normally cost $75, according to WWJ.

“We have seen a significant increase in opioid deaths and instances where law enforcement is called on during a crisis,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in a statement. “This is a nationwide crisis as it was just announced we have hit an all-time high in overdose deaths in the last 12 months. This is everyone’s problem. This program gives us one more tool to help our residents. We have an opportunity to save lives and provide a second chance.”

During the discharge process, inmates will be told they can take the nasal kit for personal use or to help a family member who has an opioid problem, WXYZ reported.

The kit has two doses of the medication and instructions on how to use it, the television station reported.

The sheriff’s office said its department is among the first in Michigan to participate in the project through Wayne State University’s School of Social Work and its Center for Behavioral Health and Justice, WXYZ reported. The vending machines were purchased by the center through a grant program.

According to a news release, Wayne State modeled its program after a 2019 program in Los Angeles that distributed 30,000 individual doses of Narcan from vending machines during 2020, according to WJBK.

According to the sheriff’s office, deputies used rescue kits 124 times through October 2021. The life-saving efforts were successful in all but eight incidents, according to WXYZ.