Knowing that Narcan often means the difference between life and death, Southern Maine Health Care’s Jessika Morin, MD, and her colleagues wanted a way to get Narcan — and other harm reduction tools — distributed to a vulnerable population.
“People leaving incarceration are at high risk of overdose,” Dr. Morin said. “Some may revert to the same level of use before jail, but their bodies are no longer tolerant, which can be deadly. Illicit substances are much more lethal now, given how common Fentanyl is in the drug supply. Fentanyl is up to 100 times more potent than morphine.”
Major Nathan Thayer, York County Jail administrator and a long-time advocate of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), quickly jumped on board with a plan to distribute “release bags” to individuals upon discharge.
“A group of people gather to put together the release bags, and then they are distributed as a standard practice to all residents leaving the jail,” Thayer said. “This collaboration feels so good because it’s something we can do within the jail and impact the community. Even if the person doesn’t have opioid use disorder, they may know someone who does. The goal is to flood the community with Narcan.”