For Immediate Release:
Written by: Rachelle Page-Lewis,
Public Relations Coordinator
Gratiot Integrated Health Network
Gratiot Integrated Health Network to host Narcan Vending Station in an effort by the Gratiot County Substance Abuse Coalition to address Opioid Crisis
Alma, Mich. (April 1, 2023) Gratiot County Substance Abuse Coalition- a program of Child Advocacy, announced the launch of a Narcan Vending Station to be housed at Gratiot Integrated Health Network in an effort to combat opioid-related overdoses in mid-Michigan. This vending station will provide units of Narcan (A treatment for a known or suspected opioid overdose) and Deterra (drug deactivation system pouches for unused or unwanted medication) to the public at no cost.
The new Narcan station will be located in the waiting room of Genoa Pharmacy, a small room adjacent to the main lobby of Gratiot Integrated Health Network at 608 Wright Ave. Alma, MI 48801. Access will be available during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. Obtaining Narcan is fast and simple and the machine is programmed to dispense for free. The vending machine’s location, near Genoa Pharmacy, allows the public to obtain this life-saving medication anonymously without shame, judgment, or stigma.
The vending machine is part of an ongoing partnership between the Child Advocacy-Gratiot County Substance Abuse Coalition and Gratiot Integrated Health Network. This is one step they are taking for harm reduction to ensure that those struggling with opioid addiction can one day receive the help they need. Harm reduction recognizes that not everyone is able or ready to stop their substance use at a given time. Instead, harm reduction focuses on protecting life and not making judgments about where individuals suffering from addiction should be regarding their substance use disorder. Harm reduction techniques give lifesaving interventions to those closest to the pain of opioid addiction, and is why it is important for friends and family members of individuals struggling with opioid addiction to carry Narcan. It is recommended that everyone should carry Narcan as you never know when you may encounter someone experiencing an opioid overdose.
Child Advocacy’s GCSAC also has medication lockboxes and medication disposal kits available to community members free of charge and collaborates with many agencies in Gratiot County to provide education and awareness surrounding substance use and suicide prevention. In the last year, GCSAC has partnered with GIHN in various ways, from providing support related to suicide prevention and education to providing Narcan at local Farmer’s Markets, and most recently with the addition of the Narcan Vending Machine at GIHN.
Child Advocacy’s mission is to improve the welfare of children and their families through education, training, and support for the prevention of substance abuse, and child abuse and neglect. GCSAC, one of the four programs of Child Advocacy is a collaborative countywide decision-making body of community members that meets to address the issue of substance abuse and suicide prevention in Gratiot County.
“At GIHN, we have always prided ourselves on being innovative and at the forefront of advanced clinical interventions. We’ve been operating a MAT clinic and providing Narcan for years so when the CAC approached us to host the vending machine, it was an easy answer. We know the need is there, but the stigma around substance use is very strong and people weren’t requesting the medication at the volume we had predicted. Since the installation of the vending machine, we are already seeing a significant increase in Narcan distribution. Rural communities are sometimes not at the forefront of people’s mind when they think of substance use, but Gratiot County, like many other small communities, have seen significant increases in substance use disorders.” said Michelle Stillwagon, LPC; Chief Executive Officer of Gratiot Integrated Health Network.
Gratiot Integrated Health Network is your local agency for mental health services, and a member of the Mid-State Health Network (MSHN), a family of community mental health and substance use disorder providers joined together to give you access to quality care. We strive to empower and improve our community by providing high-quality behavioral health services and supports that are integrated, collaborative, person-centered, and innovative.
For more information or to learn more, please call Gratiot Integrated Health Network at (989)463-4971, or call the Child Advocacy Center at (989) 463-1422.