Barry-Eaton District Health Department Recognizes International Overdose Awareness Day

August 31, 2023

The Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) is recognizing the importance of International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) campaign this year, and every year, on August 31st. IOAD is the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose, remember those who have died, and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind.

Between 2019 and 2022 in Eaton County, about 66% of all fatal overdoses due to opioids and other drugs included fentanyl in the immediate cause of death. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine, and is a major contributor to fatal and nonfatal overdoses. Drug overdose due to opioids is preventable with correct use of Naloxone.

Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, is a life-saving medication that can reverse an overdose from opioids, including fentanyl, heroin, and prescription opioid medications. Often given as a nasal spray, naloxone is safe and easy to use. There are many reasons an overdose may occur, and the best way to prevent an overdose from ending in severe complications or death is to be prepared and know when to use Naloxone. Recognizing an overdose can be difficult. If unsure, it is best to treat the situation like an overdose. Call 911 immediately. Administer naloxone, if it’s available. Do not leave the person alone.

Signs of an overdose may include:
• Small, constricted “pinpoint pupils”
• Falling asleep or loss of consciousness
• Slow, weak, or no breathing
• Choking or gurgling sounds
• Limp body
• Cold and/or clammy skin
• Discolored skin (especially in lips and nails)

In partnership with Mid State Health Network, BEDHD has installed a NEW Health Resource Vending Machine in the lobby of the BEDHD office in Charlotte (1033 Health Care Dr. Charlotte, MI 48813). The purpose of the Health Resource Vending machine is to provide FREE health resources, like Naloxone, to the community in a private and easily accessible way. BEDHD is looking into avenues to install a similar Health Resource Vending Machine in Barry County.

Health resource supplies in the machine include:
• Narcan (Naloxone)
• First Aid Kits
• Medication Disposal Bags
• CPR Face Shields
• Fentanyl Test Strips
• Mini Sharps Disposal Containers
• Dental Kits for Adults and Children (Provided by the Eaton Oral Health Coalition)
• Condoms (Provided by the Wear One Program at BEDHD)

The naloxone in the machine has been provided by the State of Michigan to reduce the harm of opioid overdoses in our district. The other supplies have been provided through various resources including funds from the State Opioid Response grant. More information can be found on the BEDHD website here: