Free Narcan vending machine comes to Berrien County

Berrien County Health Department

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. - The Berrien County Health Department (BCHD) and Berrien County Trial Court have partnered to address opioid overdoses by bringing a free Narcan vending machine to the South County Building at 1205 N. Front St. in Niles.

County officials say the lifesaving medication is currently available during the normal business hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

They add that the vending machine is available on an anonymous basis.

Narcan, the branded name for naloxone, is an easy-to-use nasal spray that can help reverse effects of an opioid overdose in minutes.

Berrien County's efforts to fight the opioid crisis are supported by the Wayne State University Center for Behavioral Health and Justice’s multiyear project to place naloxone vending machines throughout Michigan.

“We are grateful to Wayne State for its support of our ongoing efforts to educate the community about Narcan and help prevent overdoses,” said Lisa Peeples-Hurst, BCHD’s public health promotion and prevention supervisor. “We know increasing access to Narcan saves lives, and we are proud to partner with the Berrien County Trial Court in providing this critical resource to community members.”

The location is now one of 40 sites throughout the state that have a free Narcan vending machine.

According to the Center for Behavioral Health and Justice program, “getting Narcan into the hands of as many people as possible, especially people at high risk and those closest to them, is an important public health strategy for preventing opioid overdose deaths.”

BCHD officials say Narcan is effective at reversing opioid overdoses and works for any opioid, including heroin and fentanyl.

County officials add that the vending machines are installed at no cost to the community.

The vending machines feature a sticker with a QR code that links to a 30-second video explaining how to administer Narcan.

“The Berrien County Trial Court is pleased to be able to bring this service to the residents of Berrien County,” said Carrie Smietanka-Haney, court administrator. “Programs of its kind have been hugely successful in preventing overdoses statewide, and we are honored to work with the Berrien County Health Department to continue enhancing public access to these lifesaving kits.”

BCHD offers free Narcan training year-round with sessions covering the signs and symptoms of an overdose and what to do if you think someone is overdosing.

Training sessions start June 19 and go through September. BCHD will offer this training on the third Wednesday of each month from 9 to 10 a.m. and 5 to 6 p.m. at its Benton Harbor office, at 2149 E. Napier Ave.

Participants must be 18 or older. You can register for the training by calling 269-927-5622 or at the BCHD website.

Michigan is one of many states that won't prosecute anyone who alerts first responders to a potential overdose.

Officials recommend you always call 911 if you believe someone has overdosed.

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