Michigan is taking major steps to help those battling addiction with a free giveaway of naloxone, the life-saving drug reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.
Saturday is expected to be the largest single-day distribution of the drug in the state and one of the largest in the nation.
"Naloxone kits are life-saving," said Tom Brubaker, community relations coordinator at Sacred Heart Rehabilitation Center.
Tomorrow, more than 50,000 naloxone kits will be offered for free at pharmacies across the state.
It’s an effort to provide Michiganders with the medication needed to save lives from a potential drug overdose.
Several pharmacies in the Mid-Michigan area will be providing naloxone for free, including one location in downtown Saginaw.
Back in 2017, there were 2,033 overdose deaths involving opioids in Michigan, a rate of 21.2 deaths per 100,000 people.
That's higher, than the national rate of 14.6 deaths per 100,000 people.
"The opioid epidemic facing Michigan and the United States is really at a serious and critical point," Brubaker said.
Brubaker said this initiative not only helps to bring life-saving medication to those who need it but may even change people's perceptions toward opioid addiction.
"There's always this negative connotation, there's a stigma surrounding it,” he said. “But what we're finding in the opioid epidemic is that this is affecting people from all walks of life.
Brubaker says the most important thing people can do now, is reach out for help if they need it or encourage others who are struggling to do so.
"We are here, and we're prepared to help people who are battling addiction,’ He said. “And we always have to remember, addiction is a disease."