FLINT, Mich. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – More than a hundred thousand people die from opioid overdoses each year. Many states and local communities around the country are developing programs to help save addicts. Keeping more people alive may enable us to get more of them into treatment.

Amy Dicicco nearly died at this motel near Detroit six years ago after a second opioid overdose.

Recovering Addict/Peer Recovery Coach, Amy DiCicco, “Literally, i was this close to not being here.”

Narcan, also called Naloxone, was FDA approved in 2019 to reverse opioid overdose. Free Narcan vending machines are being installed in many public places, in many states … like this bus station in Flint, Michigan and in Cincinnati, Ohio and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Carrie Chanter Director of Prevention, Health and Wellness at Genesee Health System in Flint, Michigan says, “We try to remove barriers and having it in a really open place like this will increase access and get it into the hands of people that need it.”

Narcan works for opioid classification prescriptions like morphine and methadone and street level drugs like heroin. Narcan goes into the brain and kicks it off, allowing that person to breathe again.

Chanter says, “There was a young lady who came up sobbing and said, ‘Gosh, I wish we had this about five years ago. I lost my mother to an overdose.’”

Overdose symptoms include: shallow breathing, unconsciousness, pale skin, limp arms and legs, inability to speak, small pupils, vomiting, and purple lips and fingers.

“Naloxone has no risk of becoming addicted to it. And if given to a person that is not experiencing opioid overdose, it will have no medical effect on them.” Explains Chanter.

There is currently no national database listing the free vending machines. Amy Dicicco wants to see them everywhere.

Amy says, “These vending machines, they’re a godsend.”

The National Institutes of Health says a high rate of Narcan distribution could avert 21 percent of opioid deaths.

Naloxone is now also available over the counter, which means you do not need a prescription from a doctor to get it.

Contributors to this news report include: Hillary Rubin, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Darius Smith, Videographer.