The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration is partnering with Indianapolis-based nonprofit Overdose Lifeline Inc. to expand access to emergency treatment for an opioid overdose. The state recently announced an initiative to place Naloxone boxes in every county, offering 24/7-access to the lifesaving, opioid reversal treatment.
It comes as the state is seeing a 50% increase in overdoses.
“During COVID, we began to see an increase in overdoses,” said Chairman of the Indiana Commission to Combat Drug Abuse Doug Huntsinger, during an interview with Business of Health reporter Kylie Veleta.
The state also saw a 67% increase in the number of cases where EMS crews were using Naloxone to treat OD patients.
“Naloxone reverses that and wakes the person out of respiratory distress,” explained Huntsinger.
The organization is placing Naloxboxes, each with six doses of the treatment, across the state in spots where they can be available to the public.
“We’ve already placed 26 boxes. They’re in churches, libraries, treatment centers. There’s one on an outside walk of a bar,” said Huntsinger. “There’s a box at a fire station in Sellersburg that has also already had a number of doses (used).”
He says local health departments have been stretched thin because of the pandemic, managing vaccination clinics and other activities.
“So, this is really an effort which we’re not just trying to save lives, but also help our locals in ways in which we can ensure that anyone who wants this medication can access it,” said Huntsinger.
Huntsinger says the partnership has added another 25,000 doses to the program, focusing on areas of the state where there is a high incidence of overdoses and where health departments do not have the resources.