GDL in favor of equipping library staff with Narcan

FLINT — Library staff across the state could soon be allowed to administer live-saving opioid antidotes to treat overdose victims.

Senate bills 288 and 289, which were recently passed by the Michigan State Senate, would give public libraries the legal right to purchase and possess the overdose reversal drug naxolone. Both bills are working through the State House and are expected to be passed by the end of the year.

Under the legislation, library personnel would be enabled to administer opioid reversal drugs such as Narcan to anyone who has overdosed while in a library facility.

In recent years, several opioid overdoses have been reported in Grand Rapids area libraries, prompting state legislators to draft bills that would give library staff the ability to treat victims. Under current state law, first responders, law enforcement and school staff members are allowed to administer Narcan and other naxolone drugs.

David Conklin, director of the Genesee District Library system, has voiced his support for the legislation, saying that it would enable his staff to save lives.

“I’m in favor of anything that gives us the opportunity to help our community,” he said. “I think it’s important for any organization and any member of the community to do their part in battling the crisis that our nation is facing.”

Conklin said that although the GDL library branches haven’t experienced any overdose situations, it would be advantageous for his staff to be prepared and legally able to treat victims.

“The overdose problem is hitting the community on all sides,” he said. “We hope that day never comes here, but we want to be ready.”

If the legislation passes, Conklin said that training will be available to anyone on his staff who wishes to participate.

While the senate bills would not give funding to libraries to purchase Narcan, library systems such as the GDL could apply for grants to cover the cost of stocking their branches with the antidotes.

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