Gov. Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration announced Thursday that the state will fund a $1.3 million distribution of the opioid reversal agent naloxone to ensure the medication reaches Hoosiers who are at risk of drug overdose.
“Each dose of naloxone represents another life that could be saved and another opportunity to engage individuals with substance use disorder in treatment,” Holcomb said. “The effects of COVID-19 continue to linger, and now more than ever, we must make treatments like naloxone readily available to any Hoosier who may encounter an individual experiencing an overdose.”
Indiana reported a 33% increase in fatal overdoses in 2020, according to provisional data released in July by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a medication approved to prevent overdose by opioids. Naloxone is given when a person is showing signs of opioid overdose to block the toxic effects of the overdose and is often the difference between a patient living and dying.
Overdose Lifeline Inc., an Indiana nonprofit dedicated to helping those affected by substance use disorder through advocacy, harm reduction and prevention, will distribute 35,000 doses of naloxone to first responders, families, friends and others who are likely to be the first on the scene if someone overdoses.
The organization also intends to purchase and place 215 additional NaloxBox units across the state and fund other harm reduction strategies.
Funds were made available by state FSSA’s division of mental health and addiction’s state opioid response grant.
“The opportunity for grassroots distribution eliminates barriers to getting this life-saving medication into the hands of those who need it most,” said Justin Phillips, founder of Overdose Lifeline Inc. “Overdose Lifeline Inc. is incredibly grateful to Gov. Holcomb for continuing to invest in the lives of Hoosiers with substance use disorder.”
This is the state’s third investment in naloxone distribution since May 2020 when Holcomb announced a $1 million investment in 25,000 doses amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This is in addition to the 28,200 doses of naloxone distributed by the Indiana State Department of Health in 2020.
In February, Holcomb announced the state would partner with Overdose Lifeline Inc. to place 215 NaloxBox units statewide, including one at Anchor House Family Assistance Center and Pantry, 250 S. Vine St., Seymour.
Already this year, Overdose Lifeline and the ISDH have distributed more than 40,900 doses of naloxone to individuals, first responders, local health departments and other distribution entities.
First responders, families, caregivers and other individuals who would like to receive a supply of naloxone can register online at overdoselifeline.org.
A list of resources around naloxone may be found online at optin.in.gov.