State to place drug rescue kits in all counties

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On February 5, 2021, Governor Eric J. Holcomb and the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction announced the state will partner with Overdose Lifeline, Inc. to expand access to the opioid reversal agent naloxone through the purchase of 24/7-access “NaloxBox” units.

“Making overdose response tools like naloxone readily available to any Hoosier who may encounter an individual suffering from an overdose is critical in addressing the drug epidemic,” Gov. Holcomb said. “We’re committed to raising awareness about the need for bystanders to carry this lifesaving drug, which is why we’ve made it available via so many avenues, oftentimes at no cost to Hoosiers.”

Any business or community entity committed to helping Hoosiers at risk of opioid overdose is eligible to request a NaloxBox unit to install in an accessible and highly visible area. Community partners who receive a unit will be responsible for monitoring the NaloxBox location daily and requesting naloxone refills after use.

Naloxone, or Narcan, is a medication approved to reverse overdose by opioids. Naloxone is given when a person is showing signs of opioid overdose. It blocks the toxic effects of the overdose and is often the difference between a patient living and dying.

A NaloxBox is a hard acrylic box mounted to an exterior wall that provides 24/7 access to naloxone and is an effective measure of addressing the increase of opioid overdoses in Indiana. Each unit contains six to eight doses of naloxone, instructions for use, and treatment referral cards.

Overdose Lifeline, Inc., an Indiana nonprofit dedicated to helping individuals, families and communities affected by substance use disorder through advocacy, education, harm reduction, prevention, resources, and support, intends to purchase and place 215 NaloxBox units across the state, including at least one in every county.

Overdose Lifeline, Inc. has negotiated a purchase price with the manufacturer of $58,200 to include 215 NaloxBox units and shipping costs. Funds were made available by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s state opioid response grant.

Naloxone administration rates by emergency medical services continue to climb statewide during the COVID-19 pandemic. Local health departments registered with the Indiana Department of Health as entities to dispense naloxone may be experiencing limited access to resources due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state’s partnership with Overdose Lifeline, Inc. allows local health departments to devote their resources to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“Our mission is to save lives from a disease that has devastated communities across our state,” said FSSA Secretary Jennifer Sullivan, M.D., M.P.H. “NaloxBoxes are just one innovative strategy we’re using to support Hoosiers with substance use disorders. By normalizing access to this overdose reversal tool, we’re reducing the stigma often associated with opioid overdose.”

Businesses or community entities who wish to receive a NaloxBox should contact Justin Phillips, founder and executive director of Overdose Lifeline, Inc. at justin@overdoselifeline.org.

This initiative is in addition to an existing collaboration with Overdose Lifeline, Inc. announced by Gov. Holcomb in May 2020 to fund a nearly $1 million distribution of naloxone to ensure the medication reaches Hoosiers who are at risk of overdose.

First responders, families, caregivers, and other individuals who would like to receive a supply of naloxone can register online at www.overdoselifeline.org/2020-indiana-naloxone-request.

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