Cherry Health installs Narcan vending machines at two locations
The vending machines were delivered Tuesday, Dec. 6. and placed outside the south entrance at Cherry Health’s Heart of the City Health Center, 100 Cherry St. SE, in Grand Rapids, and at Cherry Health’s Montcalm Health Center, 1003 N Lafayette St., in Greenville.
Cherry Health, in partnership with The Grand Rapids Red Project, has installed Narcan vending machines at two of its facilities, providing expanded 24-hour access to free opioid overdose reversal kits.
The vending machines were delivered Tuesday, Dec. 6. and placed outside the south entrance at Cherry Health’s Heart of the City Health Center, 100 Cherry St. SE, in Grand Rapids, and at Cherry Health’s Montcalm Health Center, 1003 N Lafayette St., in Greenville. This project was made possible through grant funding to The Grand Rapids Red Project.
Opioid overdose is the leading cause of accidental deaths and has led to a decrease in life expectancy nationwide. Naloxone/Narcan is a nasal-spray drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, blocking opioids’ effects on the brain and restoring breathing. It has no potential for abuse.
With the new vending machines stocked with Narcan, Cherry Health and The Grand Rapids Red Project are expanding West Michigan locations where naloxone is easily accessible and making it available 24 hours, 7 days a week.
“By providing free and accessible Narcan, we hope to diminish the stigma of substance abuse – it’s real, it affects everyone,” said Bob Smith, director of Behavioral Health, Therapy at Cherry Health. “As a community, it’s important that we normalize the use of life-saving medications, like Narcan, that can be easily accessible. We’ve made strides toward this throughout the past few years and have seen progress in destigmatizing those suffering from a substance use disorder and promoting the use of safe and effective overdose reversal medications in the community. These new vending machines at two Cherry Health locations are another resource for our patients and our entire community.”
Currently, The Grand Rapids Red Project distributes naloxone rescue kits through various locations, including its Grand Rapids office and mobile health units, and through community partnerships.
“Ideally, we would like as many people as possible in our community to carry naloxone rescue kits so that there is the greatest probability that when and if someone overdoses in our community, there is someone with this life-saving tool nearby,” said Steve Alsum, executive director, The Grand Rapids Red Project. “Specifically, at Cherry Health, we encourage anyone who has a history of substance use, knows someone – whether or not they are currently using – or anyone with prescribed opioids to have a rescue kit with them at all times. They could be the reason for saving someone’s life.”