University of Michigan and Zingerman's launch pilot program to train employees in use of naloxone

In an effort to expand the use of lifesaving opioid overdose reversal medication, the University of Michigan and Ann Arbor’s Zingerman’s Community of Businesses are launching a restaurant-based pilot program in Michigan to train employees in the use and administration of naloxone.

In partnership with U-M’s Opioid Research Institute and Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network, Zingerman’s will launch a train-the-trainer model at its Ann Arbor locations this month.

The model, part of OPEN’s statewide naloxone distribution system, allows certified naloxone administrators to train community-based organizations such as law enforcement and emergency departments on best practices for providing the lifesaving drug to anyone experiencing an opioid overdose. The partnership is the first time OPEN will provide training to a restaurant.

Ensuring our communities have access to lifesaving measures in times of crises is paramount when discussing effective strategies to address the opioid epidemic.”

Gina Dahlem, U-M clinical associate professor of nursing

“By partnering with Zingerman’s and other community-based organizations, we can equip and train community laypeople to respond to opioid overdoses even before first responders arrive. The sooner we are able to restore a person’s breathing, the better likelihood of survival with less complications.”

A critical component of the statewide training and distribution program is community engagement and partnership, specifically targeting areas with high-risk populations. OPEN also works with local law enforcement and public safety officials to train first responders on the use and administration of naloxone.

Zingerman’s, a recovery-friendly employer, has been a staple in the Ann Arbor community since its opening in 1982 and currently has 11 food-based businesses across Washtenaw County.

Participation in the training program is voluntary and employees or other associates seeking training must be certified in First Aid/CPR/AED in order to join. The Zingerman’s partnership will be a test for implementing the train-the-trainer model at other businesses and lead the way for other companies to join.

“As an organization, Zingerman’s believes each person is a creative, unique individual who can do great things in life and that business is a way to do good in the world,” said Patrick McIntyre, a member of Zingerman’s Safety Committee. “In the midst of a national and local overdose epidemic having naloxone available can make the difference between somebody having that opportunity to do great things and not.”

Nationally, opioid overdoses account for more than 100,000 deaths annually, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Michigan in 2022, that number reached 2,993.

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