Vaupel teams up to host opioid overdose response training event for legislators

L-to-R: Rep. Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores); Michele Wagner, president of Mitchell’s Hope; Steve Alsum from the Grand Rapids Red Project; and Rep. Hank Vaupel (R-Fowlerville) came together for opioid response training at the Captiol.

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State Reps. Hank Vaupel (R-Fowlerville) and Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores), co-chairs of the House Pharmacy Caucus, hosted a bipartisan event Wednesday to train legislators and their staff on the proper opioid overdose response methods.

The training session was instructed by Michele Wagner, President of Mitchell’s Hope, an organization she established to raise awareness, end stigma, educate the public about the dangers of opioid addiction and support people struggling with opioid dependance. She created the organization in honor of her son who she lost to an accidental opioid overdose in 2014.

“Michigan’s opiod epidemic is of great concern to me, and all of my colleagues in the Legislature, regardless of what side of the aisle they sit on,” said Vaupel, who also chairs the House Health Policy Committee. “It’s important we educate ourselves about the dangers of opioid abuse as well as the possible response available to everyone to combat an overdose.”

According to the state Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), opioid deaths in Michigan rose from 622 in 2011 to 1,689 in 2016.

Vaupel said House lawmakers remain committed to learning about the many ways the system can be improved to prevent opioid-related deaths and addiction.

The House Pharmacy Caucus participated in the training session which provided an overview of how to identify an overdose situation and administer naloxone in response. After completing the training, participants received a Naloxone Rescue Kit provided by MDHHS. In 2016, Michigan passed a Naloxone standing order law, allowing a pharmacist to dispense the opioid antagonist without an individual prescription.

To learn more about Naloxone and how to identify and respond to an overdose situation, visit the MDHHS website.

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