Thanks to a state initiative announced in February, all 92 counties in Indiana are able to provide 24/7 access to the opioid overdose reversal medication naloxone, also known as Narcan.
Recently, Jackson County officially became one of those counties.
Gov. Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction in partnership with Overdose Lifeline Inc. announced Feb. 5 that NaloxBox units will be installed in every Indiana county.
A NaloxBox is a hard acrylic box mounted to an exterior wall with 24/7 access to naloxone.
Kimberly Buck is a Narcan distributor for Overdose Lifeline, an Indiana nonprofit dedicated to helping individuals, families and communities affected by substance use disorder. She has been with the nonprofit since 2014 and was tasked with deciding where Jackson County’s two boxes would go and installing them as she receives them.
Buck and her fiancé, Derek Glaze, helped install one of Jackson County’s two NaloxBoxes on the exterior wall of Anchor House Family Assistance Center and Pantry, 250 S. Vine St., Seymour, on April 5.
“I would never have pictured that we would have this and have community partners,” Buck said. “Megan (Cherry, executive director of Anchor House) has been so gracious to be so accepting and willing.”
Glaze thanked Kyle Stuckwisch from Ace Hardware, who was able to give him a deal on the drill he used to install the box at Anchor House.
In the NaloxBox, Buck was able to put eight packs with two Narcan doses apiece. The packs also include treatment referral, instructions on how to administer Narcan and supplemental information on what to do after Narcan is used on somebody.
The Narcan doses in the NaloxBox are a newer model that is easier to use, compared to a previous model that had to be put together from three parts.
“It’s just like an over-the-counter nasal spray,” Buck said.
No needles or hypodermic syringes will be available from the NaloxBox.
Jackson County’s NaloxBoxes will be checked every other day to make sure they’re stocked with Narcan. If stock is unavailable, there is a number on the box to request Narcan.
While it has yet to be received by Buck, the other NaloxBox will be located in Freetown. The tentative location will be on the outside of the Freetown Community Center, located at the former Freetown High School gymnasium on North Union Street.
Funds were made available for the NaloxBoxes by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s state opioid response grant. At one least box will be included in every county. More populated counties, like Marion, will receive more.
To decide where the county’s two boxes will go, Buck said she looked at a heat map from the Indiana State Department of Health showing overdose hotspots and placed them accordingly.
She said she likes Anchor House’s low-key location and also needed to find a location with an exterior concrete wall to install the boxes. Her hope is the location gives people privacy if they want to stop by the NaloxBox in anonymity. The location also is close to overdose hotspots in the area.
In her time working with the nonprofit, Buck said Overdose Lifeline has been generous in providing naloxone to its distributors.
In 2016, Jackson and Jennings counties had 19 overdoses within 24 hours, and Buck said the police departments ran out of Narcan. In response, she was able to drive to Overdose Lifeline’s location in Indianapolis and get 100 Narcan doses to provide to local law enforcement.
According to the Indiana State Department of Health, there were 10 overdose deaths in Jackson County in 2020.
Buck is no stranger to the world of drug addiction. Her son, Devon Buck, is currently 28 and in prison. He was addicted to IV heroin use for around seven years.
Because of her son’s addiction, she had to teach her daughter when she was 6 how to administer Narcan. She learned when Narcan was administered with a vial and syringe because she wanted to prevent her family from regretting his possible death.
There isn’t anyone that shouldn’t carry Narcan, Buck said.
“It’s for anybody, whether that is families or friends of loved ones,” she said.
But when it comes to administering Narcan, Buck gave some advice.
“If you don’t know what they’ve taken, go ahead and give it to them anyway,” she said.