Mobile health van now available

Courtesy graphic

MARQUETTE — An area health department has created a new program to address an opioid problem that has affected people before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Luce-Mackinac-Alger-Schoolcraft District Health Department on Wednesday announced that it is addressing the increased opioid use by creating a harm-reduction program.

Harm-reduction programs, the health department said, use evidence-based approaches that reduce the risks associated with substance use.

“Harm reduction reduces the risk of blood-borne pathogens such as hepatitis C, HIV and bacterial infections, reduces sexually transmitted infections and prevents overdoses,” said LMAS harm-reduction nurse Monica Eriksen in a news release.

The program involves a mobile health van. Van staff provides:

≤ free and safe injection supplies, fentanyl test strips and other syringe exchange services;

≤ naloxone (Narcan) training and distribution;

≤ a safe, confidential, non-judgmental atmosphere;

≤ recovery coaching with a certified peer recovery coach;

≤ condom distribution;

≤ hepatitis A and B, Tdap and COVID-19 vaccines;

≤ HIV and hepatitis C rapid testing;

≤ basic wound care;

≤ improved physical and emotional health by providing education and support; and

≤ linkage to medical care, housing, treatment, and other vital services.

For more information and to schedule the mobile health van visit, contact the program manager directly by calling or texting 906-322-4444.

Greater heating credits available

Michiganders will have greater access to an increasing amount of Home Heating Credit benefits this year through a partnership between the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan, MDHHS announced on Wednesday.

MDHHS awarded the association a $1 million grant to expand the capacity of free tax preparation service providers statewide and increase access to the Home Heating Credit and other tax credits that help improve financial stability. The Home Heating Credit is available through the Michigan Department of Treasury.

“The Home Heating Credit helps Michigan families stay warm and safe,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a news release. “We urge Michiganders to apply for this credit so that they can get money back in their pockets to keep the heat on and spend their hard-earned paychecks to put food on the table and pay the bills. At the state-level, we will continue working together to grow our economy, create more good-paying jobs and lower costs for working families.”

This fiscal year $120 million in Home Heating Credit benefits are available to Michigan residents — more than double the typical amount due to an additional $70 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act COVID-19 recovery funding.

The Home Heating Credit helps the state of Michigan assist qualified homeowners and renters pay some of their heating expenses. Income, heating costs and other factors determine eligibility and the household benefit amount.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.


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