Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has awarded $127,000 in grants to help first responders deal with prescription drug and heroin overdoses. The grants were given to three nonprofit organizations to distribute naloxone kits and provide training.
Zoeller awarded the grants to Overdose Lifeline Inc, Indiana Naloxone Project and the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County. All three of the organizations, which are registered with the Indiana State Department of Health, will distribute naloxone to first responders in counties identified as high-need or high-risk.
Naloxone is a fact-acting antidote to overdoses of prescription opiods and heroin. The initial target for the funding will be law enforcement agencies in the most underserved counties.
"Indiana is in crisis mode as it responds to disastrously high rates of drug addiction and overdose," said Zoeller. "Law enforcement has taken an active role in triaging this crisis by administering naloxone when officers arrive first on the scene of an overdose, when mere minutes could be the difference between life and death. Ensuring all of Indiana’s first responders are trained and ready to save a life with naloxone is a critical and necessary response to this public health emergency."
Overdose Lifeline received $75,000 to work directly with first responders that express interest in naloxone training and kits. The organization has identified Fayette, Pulaski, Clinton, Morgan, Montgomery, Blackford, Jennings, Fountain, Howard, Scott, Clark and Vigo as priority counties, though they can work with first responder agencies statewide.
Bloomington-based Indiana Naloxone Project received $25,000 to serve Brown, Jackson, Monroe and Lawrence counties. The Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County will receive $27,000 to provide naloxone refill kids to Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Indianapolis Fire Department.
The grant program was established in October 2015 and is paid for with settlement funds received by Zoeller’s office for off-label and deceptive marketing by pharmaceutical companies. Zoeller says he plans to operate the naloxone grant program on a continuing basis, as needed, using remaining settlement funds.