FORT WAYNE, Ind. (NEWS RELEASE) - The Allen County Department of Health has received another grant from the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) to distribute more naloxone kits to community agencies in an effort to help prevent fatal opioid overdoses.
The Allen County Department of Health will be distributing more than 800 naloxone kits to community partners including the Allen County Syringe Services Program, Allen County Community Corrections, Southwest Allen County Fire District and the Woodburn Police Department. The Department will also provide training on its use.
“It’s so important for our first responders and community organizations to be equipped with this life-saving medication,” said Dr. Deborah McMahan, Allen County Health Commissioner. “We are proud to partner with them so they have easy access and know how to administer it. After all, it saves lives!”
The Allen County Department of Health received its first naloxone grant from ISDH in October 2017 and has since partnered with 13 local agencies on training and distributed more than 1,700 naloxone kits. The naloxone kits contain naloxone hydrochloride, a non-narcotic medication that reverses the life-threatening respiratory failure that is usually the cause of overdose deaths. Naloxone is also commonly called by the trade name Narcan®.
Between 2016 and 2017, Allen County experienced a 45 percent increase in drug overdose deaths, with 128 people dying in 2017 (up from 88 in the previous year) – and about 95 percent were deemed accidental. Non-fatal overdoses also increased in that time period from about 800 to 1200.
The Allen County Department of Health is a registered naloxone dispenser at www.optIN.in.gov, which lists entities that carry naloxone. Individuals in need of naloxone can request it from a registered entity using a statewide standing order signed by State Health Commissioner Kristina Box, MD, FACOG. Individuals do not need to obtain a prescription from a private healthcare provider so long as they are requesting naloxone from an entity registered at www.optIN.in.gov.
Naloxone is approved by the Food and Drug Administration and has been used for more than 40 years by emergency medical services personnel to reverse opioid overdose and revive people who might have died without treatment. It is not addictive, and although it is only effective at reversing overdoses of opioid drugs like heroin or prescription painkillers, it is not harmful if administered to someone who has not taken opioids.
For information on treatment for substance use disorder, visit the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction website at http://www.in.gov/fssa/dmha. The grant from ISDH was made possible thanks to a partnership with FSSA and used funding from the 21st Century Cures Grant.