Macomb County EMS to begin naloxone ‘leave behind’ program

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published October 23, 2020

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MACOMB COUNTY — EMS agencies throughout Macomb County are implementing new protocols for paramedics that will enable them to leave behind naloxone with patients and their loved ones following overdoses.

Naloxone is a treatment which helps counter the effects of opioid overdoses and is used every day to save lives.

“Our community paramedic team has been able to take our care, service and treatment to a whole different level, providing a unique, and much needed service to this vulnerable population of patients,” Kolby Miller, president and chief executive officer of Medstar Ambulance, said in a press release. “This innovative approach and our great partnership with our community partners in the sheriff’s department and CARE, has helped us attack this epidemic head-on to move local residents toward recovery instead of another 911 call.”

Macomb County’s advanced life support agencies will be the first in the state of Michigan to carry naloxone overdose kits for future use. Although some local agencies are not taking part in the initiative directly, they are following it and are planning to allow EMS units to leave behind naloxone sprays such as Narcan.

“Right now we are not part of the program,” Eastpointe Director of Public Safety George Rouhib said in an email. “One of our firefighters will instruct the rest of the department in the near future on the protocols. Once this is done, we will be distributing kits to the families in need.”

He added that he has personally seen the lifesaving effects of naloxone and Narcan.

“As of now, all our police officers carry Narcan and use it frequently,” Rouhib wrote. “They use the nasal spray. The firefighters/paramedics use an IV to distribute the drug.”

Roseville first responders have their own program to help put naloxone in the hands of citizens, as well as provide additional resources for those battling addiction.

“We have a partnership with (Families Against Narcotics) and have our Quick Response Team. They leave Narcan behind when we make contact trying to get individuals into treatment. Our officers carry it on duty as well,” Police Chief Ryan Monroe said in an email. “Narcan is amazing and extremely effective. Our Fire Department and our officers have saved numerous people from overdosing.”

The county teams will assist the recipients of the naloxone and provide them with basic supplies and a supply of Narcan for future use. They also will work with family members and other loved ones who may be present during the visit, equipping them with needed resources as well. Peer recovery coaches also are frequently on hand to establish a relationship for additional care and service.

“We are so proud of the commitment by our providers in Macomb County to engage in this work and save lives of some of our most vulnerable citizens,” Debbie Condino, executive director of the Macomb County EMS Medical Control Authority, said in a press release. “We are grateful for the state’s efforts and changes in protocols that now allow paramedics to join our efforts and provide resources through the ‘Leave-Behind’ program.”