Access to the drug should increase in coming days after thousands of kits are shipped. Michigan has allowed over-the-counter sales since 2017, but not all pharmacies carried the drug that reverses overdoses.
Fentanyl test strips can help prevent overdoses by alerting users to the presence of the synthetic opioid. The state should push for federal money to supply local health offices with test strips and help save lives.
Doctors and substance abuse experts said a federal policy shift could make the drug, now available in pharmacies, far more convenient to buy at convenience stores, gas stations or from online retailers. But will it still be affordable?
The rate of opioid overdose deaths doubled among Black residents over a recent five-year period. Suicide rates jumped 88 percent. Advocates say isolation, treatment disparities and the ubiquity of fentanyl in street drugs are behind the increases.
Overdose deaths for opioids and other drugs fell in 2018, the first drop since 2012, with state policies restricting painkiller prescriptions cited. But drug deaths for black residents spiked in Michigan.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s vetoes in the Michigan budget included funds for Andy’s Place, an opioid recovery project near Jackson that she endorsed months ago. The planned facility is in the district of Republican budget and political foe Mike Shirkey.