Allen County now has more help to prevent fatal opioid overdoses. The Indiana State Department of Health has granted the Allen County Department of Health with naloxone kits to give to community groups.
Local health officials will distribute more than 800 naloxone, also known as Narcan, 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. There will also be training for the use of the overdose prevention drug.
Between 2016 and 2017, Allen County saw a 45 percent increase in drug overdose deaths. In 2017, 128 people died, up from 88 the previous year. 95 percent of those deaths were ruled accidental. Non-fatal overdoses also increased in that time period from about 800 to 1,200.
The Health Department first received its grant from the ISDH in October 2017 and has partnered with 13 local agencies to hand out more than 1,700 kits. Naloxone kits contain a non-narcotic medication that reverses life-threatening respiratory failure that is usually the cause of overdose deaths.
Naloxone is approved by the Food and Drug Administration and has been used for more than 40 years by emergency medical personnel.
The Allen County Department of Health has a registered naloxone dispenser which lists who carries the kits. Individuals in need of naloxone can request it from a registered entity using a statewide standing order signed by the state health commissioner.