PONTIAC, Mich. (CBS Detroit) — The Oakland County Jail has a vending machine that dispenses kits designed to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses.

Naloxone, commonly referred to as Narcan, nasal rescue kits are available free of charge to inmates being discharged from the jail in Pontiac, the sheriff’s office said Thursday.

“We have seen a significant increase in opioid deaths and instances where law enforcement is called on during a crisis,” Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in a statement. “This is a nationwide crisis as it was just announced we have hit an all-time high in overdose deaths in the last 12 months. This is everyone’s problem. This program gives us one more tool to help our residents. We have an opportunity to save lives and provide a second chance.”

Officials said the kits, which are normally $75 each, contain two doses of medication and an instruction sheet for safe use and are provided by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

As part of the release process, deputies advise discharged inmates they can take the kits for personal use or for a family member who may be dependent on opioids.

Officials said the sheriff’s office is among the first in Michigan to participate in the Narcan project through Wayne State University’s School of Social Work and its Center for Behavioral Health and Justice.

The center purchased the vending machines through grant funding.

The project is patterned after a program in Los Angeles in which about 30,000 individual doses were distributed in 2020.

In 2020, there were 255 drug-related deaths in the county. Of that number, opioids were present in 211 deaths.

Oakland County deputies have used Narcan rescue kits on 124 occasions through October of this year. They were successful in all but eight instances, the sheriff’s office said.

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