JACKSON, Mich. — It’s not just your regular vending machine. The one in the Jackson County Jail lobby holds a drug that could save lives.
The machine holds 150 doses of Narcan, a drug that can bring someone out of an overdose. The machine was provided to the Jackson County Office of the Sheriff by Wayne State University through a grant program.
Jackson County Sheriff Gary Schuette wanted to take part in this program to help save lives of those that are suffering from opiate addiction.
Research shows that individuals who have an addiction see their tolerance for opioids drop if they spend any time in jail, but once they are out, they may act like their tolerance is the same as it was prior to incarceration.
Jail Captain Anthony Stewart said opioid addiction is an epidemic.
“Fentanyl is probably the most deadly,” Stewart said. “That’s because it’s a combination of cocaine and heroin, so we have a system in place where citizens just come up and get a box of Narcan.”
According Stewart, in the last 12 months they have had to administer Narcan to four inmates, who were under the influence of drugs in the booking area.
It took 10 doses to save one of them.
As of Wednesday, the machine had been used at least 10 times, and it gets refilled every Friday.
“We can’t arrest our way out of drug abuse,” Stewart said. “That doesn’t work. We have to provide some innovative ways to save lives. It’s also a way for us for people maybe who have not been incarcerated but they want to have it on hand because maybe there’s a family member addicted. This is a service we can provide to make our community safer.”
The department was awarded a gold standard certification in September 2021 and were the first county in the state to receive that certification. They received the standard through the Center of Behavioral Health and Justice at Wayne State University.
The department will have to reapply for the grant in five years.
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