Grand Forks Public Health has purchased nearly 240 Narcan kits for opioid overdose using a state-targeted response grant from the North Dakota Department of Human Services.

Upon a "call to action" from Mayor Mike Brown against opioid abuse in Grand Forks, the local Public Health Department received a $180,000 grant from the state to create an Opiate Response Project. In June, Grand Forks received another $160,000 grant for the same project.

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Along with supporting local medication assisted treatment efforts and primary prevention, the money also was spent on buying kits containing Narcan, a brand name for the drug naloxone, to reverse the immediate effects of an opioid overdose. Kits the city bought for public entities to distribute cost approximately $72 per kit, said Michael Dulitz, coordinator for the Opiate Response Project in Grand Forks.

"Each two-dose kit has two individually packaged doses of Narcan," he said. "Each officer carries a dose in a pouch either on them or in the car."

The city also received 75 kits from the state to give to at-risk individuals during a satellite event. Eighty-eight of the 240 kits Dulitz's office bought also went to at-risk individuals and the public.

"What we're trying to do is get it to people at high risk and to locations in the community with frequent contact with the public," he said.

The kits from the grant have been available since late 2017. The Grand Forks Fire Department has had access to naloxone through an agreement with Altru since May 2017. The Grand Forks Drug Task Force also had Narcan and training for the kits before Dulitz's office were able to distribute the safeguard.

Dulitz's project has contributed some of its funding to "One Rx", an educational initiative focused on educating patients with opioid prescriptions and pharmacists.

"They want to be able to do a screening for each individual getting (a prescription), to assess for overdose or misuse," he said.

That would save pharmacists from having to judge a patient's situation on their own, reducing some of the stigma, he said.