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State launches new website to help fight opioid epidemic

person shaking prescription pills from bottle into hand
User: frankileon
Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The State of Michigan has launched a new website to bring information together in one location about opioid addiction and how to get help.

Before, this information was scattered among various state agencies.

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley said the goal is to make it possible to get life-saving information faster.

"Regardless of how you're affected by it, a person who's addicted all the way through to a person who's a prescriber that needs information, this'd be a 'one stop shop' to help people get the information they need," said Calley.

The new website includes maps that show licensed treatment centers and medication take-back centers. It also contains information about the Michigan State Police's Angel Program which lets addicts seek help at any Michigan State Police station without fear of criminal prosecution. 

Calley wants all Michigan pharmacies to register to carry the overdose-reversing drug known as naloxone. 

He said 56 percent of the state's pharmacies with controlled substance licenses have registered to dispense naloxone to individuals without a doctor's prescription, something Michigan has permitted  since May 2017.

"We've had some good participation from pharmacies across the state," said Calley. "But it would be great if every pharmacy offered naloxone over the counter. It literally is the difference between life and death for a person who's having an overdose."

The new website also lists the names and locations of pharmacies that offer naloxone over the counter.

According to state officials, the opioid epidemic has claimed the lives of more than 6,000 Michiganders in the last four years.

Calley and Governor Rick Snyder praised the bipartisan federal opioid legislation signed into law Wednesday by President Donald Trump.

Calley and Snyder said the new law will help save lives and improve prevention efforts and  treatment for addiction, noting that the law will establish comprehensive opioid centers and expand access to treatment and recovery options for all patients, including those on Medicaid and Medicare.

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