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Task force encourages residents to carry Narcan


The Kent County Opioid Task Force is pushing for easier access to naloxone, commonly known as Narcan, a life-saving drug for individuals experiencing an opioid overdose

Rachel Jantz is the Public Health Epidemiologist for the Kent County Health Department. The task force she co-chairs is made up of various public health officials who want to educate the public about the continuing opioid epidemic.

“So we’re really trying to tackle the opioid epidemic from a bunch of different angles with a bunch of different types of partners.”

One way they’re doing that is by making Narcan easily accessible. Narcan is an FDA-approved medication that is highly effective in reversing opioid overdoses.

“So it kind of works like allergy spray. You just spray it up the nose. There’s two vials in each box and it’s really easy for a layperson to use.”

Fentanyl, a substance 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, is frequently present in opioid products such as heroin or counterfeit prescription pills and is currently present in approximately 90% of overdose deaths in Kent County.

The task force’s efforts include placing free Narcan vending machines throughout Kent County, as well as setting up dozens of locations within hospitals and clinics where individuals can access Narcan free of charge.

“Having Narcan on hand is one thing that community members can do that is a real tangible way to keep someone alive.”

Dave joined WGVU Public Media in November of 2023 after eighteen years as a Michigan Association of Broadcasters Emmy-nominated photojournalist and editor at Grand Rapids' WOOD TV8 and three years at WEYI TV25 in Flint, Michigan. As a General Assignment Reporter, Dave covers daily news and community events all over West Michigan.
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