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Ferris State’s Central Michigan Recovery and Education Network and Partners Set Locations to Help People in the Event of a Drug Overdose

Narcan repurposed mailboxes

Supplies of Narcan (Naloxone HCl), an overdose antidote, are now available on the Ferris State University campus, along with the Big Rapids Community Library and the Osceola County Health Department office in Reed City. A federal grant to Ferris’ Central Michigan Recovery and Education network supports the program.

Repurposed newspaper sales boxes in Mecosta and Osceola counties could now save lives, providing emergency help for someone suffering from a drug overdose.

The Central Michigan Recovery and Education Network (CMREN), a federally funded program at Ferris State University collaborating with various regional partners, is placing dispensers containing an overdose antidote on campus and at Big Rapids and Reed City locations.

CMREN project director Gail Bullard, a professor of Health Administration in Ferris State’s College of Health Professions, said the best way to fight overdose deaths is to have Narcan (Naloxone HCl) available for emergency use.

“CMREN has provided boxes for Corewell Health, the Michigan College of Optometry Building, the Big Rapids Community Library and the Osceola County Health Department offices in Reed City,” Bullard said. “A next step to protect our campus community will be to place ‘NaloxBox’ acrylic wall-mounted dispensers wherever there is an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) in place.”

Bullard said the Naloxone nasal spray is provided for free by the state of Michigan to qualified parties, including Ferris’ CMREN program.

“Narcan saves lives, which is so necessary due to the rise of opioid use, including drugs like Fentanyl, which continues across the country, through direct or unintended means,” Bullard said. “Our area is not immune and Naloxone being readily available is essential.”

The Central Michigan Recovery and Education Network was established in 2019 and funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration with a Rural Communities Opioid Response Program grant in 2020. Ferris’ Board of Trustees accepted a four-year, $1.2 million Rural Health Development grant from HRSA in a special meeting on June 21, and funding began July 1.

Scott Sexton, an assistant professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Ferris’ College of Pharmacy, was principal investigator for the grant. Beyond Bullard and Sexton, staff that played key roles in securing and administering the grant were Wendy Stapp, the grants administrator, and Jessica Wimmer, interim network director.