LANSING, Mich. — State health officials said Wednesday that opioid overdoses have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are resources to help.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said in a news release there was a 33 percent increase in overdoses between April and May. Emergency medical services saw their responses to opioid overdoses increase across all age groups except 65 years and older.
“Opioid overdoses kill far too many Michiganders, and it’s a double tragedy that the pandemic has exacerbated this crisis,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief deputy for health and chief medical executive, said in the release.
The MDHSS released this list of resources for those who need help or know someone who does:
- Access resources to support the mental and physical health of those with substance use disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Contact your primary care provider before you run low on necessary medications.
- If you need access to a medical provider, contact your nearest Federally Qualified Health Center for support.
- Ensure naloxone is readily available. Naloxone for All and NEXT Distro will mail naloxone at no cost to anyone in Michigan. Individuals can request naloxone online. MDHHS has also created an online naloxone portal where community organizations can request free naloxone.
- Practice safer drug use (safety practices that prevent overdose deaths) and encourage others to do the same. More information is available in Safer Drug Use during the COVID-19 Outbreak.
- Never Use Alone is a service anyone can call while using drugs. The caller will be connected to a person who will seek emergency services for them if they drop off the line or don’t respond to a return call. Call 800-484-3731 or visit NeverUseAlone.com to learn more.
- Find an SSP near you that can provide sterile needles, naloxone and other life-saving resources.
If you or someone you know would like to seek treatment for opioid use disorder:
- Treatment centers are still open during COVID-19 and listed online so you can find a center near you.
If you or someone you know is in recovery:
- Reach out with a phone call, text or email to let him or her know you are there. Model good coping behaviors yourself.
- Share the COVID-19 hotline number (888-535-6136) and tell them to press “8″ for free emotional support counseling.
- Direct them to Michigan.gov/StayWell for a list of other help lines, including a peer “warm line” for individuals in distress who want to talk to someone who understands substance use disorders, the National Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990 and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
- Call 211. Anyone struggling or seeking resources for substance use treatment services can call this free service that connects Michigan residents with health resources in their communities.
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