Jessica Mathews /

Livingston County has taken a new step to help fight the local opioid epidemic.

The Livingston County Community Mental Health Authority has installed a new vending machine providing free naloxone in the lobby of the Livingston CMH East County Complex building located at 2280 E. Grand River Ave in Howell.

Naloxone is a medication that temporarily reverses the dangerous effects of an opioid overdose. It allows time for emergency responders to reach a person and provide needed medical care.

In conjunction with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Livingston CMH has provided naloxone kits to first responders, schools, human service agencies and community members for many years. Officials say the new vending machine allows easy, anonymous access to the life-saving medication for any community member at no cost.

In March 2023, the Food and Drug Administration approved naloxone for over-the-counter purchase to begin in September. Many major pharmacies will have naloxone available on their shelves starting as early as this week for $44.99 for a two-dose box. However, officials say that cost can be prohibitive for some residents and the new vending machine will remove financial barriers to accessing the medication.

The free vending machine is available during business hours and was made possible through a grant.

More information, including local data on opioid poisonings and overdose deaths, is available in the attached release.