“Just keep that person alive”: Michigan’s harm reduction strategies prevent opioid overdoses

While the COVID-19 crisis has held Michigan’s attention for the past year and a half, a different deadly epidemic is taking an increasing number of Michiganders’ lives. From 2000 to 2018, opioid overdose deaths have grown tenfold in Michigan. And according to Amy Dolinky, senior advisor of Michigan opioids strategy with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), those numbers grew by another 14% in the past year. In November 2019, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called the opioid epidemic “the greatest health crisis of our lifetimes” and set a goal to cut opioid overdose deaths by half over the next five years. 

Northern Michigan pushback to clean needle programs for drug users

About a dozen miles east of Traverse City, a tiny community in Kalkaska County confronted a specter many might expect in a big city. Local residents in Rapid City were finding used syringes in a city park or under a bridge, sure signs to some that injection drug use was out of control.

“It’s not the first time people have found needles,” said Jordan Acker, zoning administrator for Clearwater Township, which encompasses the unincorporated community of Rapid City.

Treat Hep C Initiative: MDHHS partners with professional consultation programs to offer free hepatitis C training and resources for health care providers

On April 1st, 2021, Michigan Medicaid announced the removal of the prior authorization requirements for the Hepatitis C treatment medication MAVYRET. Over the last several months, MOC has expanded our services to include HCV treatment support, including HCV case review and conferencing. In addition to the expansion of our services, Dr. Ponni Perumalswami has recorded a three-part webinar series addressing HCV treatment. MOC is proud to announce that all three webinars are now available for on-demand viewing! You can watch the webinars at:

FDA Approves Higher Dosage of Naloxone Nasal Spray to Treat Opioid Overdose

April 30, 2021
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today the approval of a higher dose naloxone hydrochloride nasal spray product to treat opioid overdose. The newly approved product delivers 8 milligrams (mg) of naloxone into the nasal cavity. The FDA had previously approved 2 mg and 4 mg naloxone nasal spray products.

Naloxone is a medicine that can be administered by individuals with or without medical training to help reduce opioid overdose deaths. If naloxone is administered quickly, it can counter the opioid overdose effects, usually within minutes. A higher dose of naloxone provides an additional option in the treatment of opioid overdoses.

MDHHS announces launch of pilot MiCAL crisis helpline in Oakland County and Upper Peninsula, services to be expanded statewide in coming months

April 28, 2021
— The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is announcing the launch of the Michigan Crisis and Access Line (MiCAL), with the rollout beginning in Oakland County and the Upper Peninsula.

Michiganders in Oakland County and the Upper Peninsula will be able to call, text or chat with MiCAL for free behavioral health crisis triage, support, resource information and referral to local services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. MiCAL can be reached via phone or text at 844-44-MICAL (844-446-4225). Chat is accessed through

EMS leave behind program expanding since launch six months ago

LANSING, Mich. – During the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) data has shown a staggering increase in emergency medical services (EMS) responses for opioid overdoses, including a 33% increase from April to May 2020 alone. In response, MDHHS partnered with EMS providers to launch the EMS Leave Behind Naloxone Program that equips EMS providers with naloxone, the lifesaving opioid overdose reversal drug, to leave behind with the patient, family and friends or bystanders at the scene of a non-fatal overdose.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services launches We Treat Hep C Campaign aimed at providing timely screening and treatment of Hepatitis C

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is working to eliminate Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) as a health threat to Michiganders through the We Treat Hep C Initiative and with the release of the state plan on eliminating Hepatitis C.

Recovery & Partner Highlights

Bay Mills Indian Community

Bay Mills Indian Community hosted their second Naloxone distribution event on March 11th and despite the rainy weather, they were able to distribute over 60

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Every quarter we will be taking the time to highlight someone’s recovery story in our Newsletter. This quarter we are highlighting Justin Mandosking from Chippewa

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