FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — When the Fort Wayne Medical Society Alliance learned about a grant made available to Overdose Lifeline through Governor Eric Holcomb’s office and the Division of Mental Health and Addiction, it gave them an idea on how to help the community.
The alliance’s president, Tonya Hughes, told WANE 15 that the ongoing opioid crisis was something they wanted to help with.
It’s part of the reason why they pushed to partner with Overdose Lifeline to add a Narcan vending machine outside of the emergency room at Parkview Randallia, and it’s the reason why they’ve now placed six Narcan kit boxes around the city.
The latest one was just added on the back side of O’Sullivan’s Italian Pub at Main and Runnion.
Co-owner Frank Casagrande said it was an easy sell when Hughes reached out about adding an opioid rescue kit on their property.
“My attitude is if it saves one life. It’s worth it, and I think the community has to get involved. Thank god for them to come forward,” Casagrande said.
O’Sullivans wasn’t picked at random. Captain Kevin Hunter of the Fort Wayne Police Vice and Narcotics division worked with the Medical Society Alliance to strategically place the boxes in areas that have seen higher overdose rates, and high overdose deaths.
“We can work with and cure addiction and get people into recovery, but you can’t cure death. So, we want to avoid those deaths and hopefully get people into recovery,” Hughes told WANE 15.
According to Hughes, the 46808 zip code where O’s is located saw 17 overdose deaths last year.
“It’s not just in one kind of neighborhood,” Casagrande said. “It’s the best neighborhoods to the ones that are less fortunate. So, it doesn’t matter. So, if everybody gets involved, O’s has been here it’ll be 45 years, and it’s just part of who we are.”
“Captain Hunter and his team has been amazing,” Hughes added. “They’ve been very instrumental in finding out where best to put the boxes around town. They know where most of the overdoses are coming from.”
Hughes believes it’s extremely important for there to always be access to Narcan. She said you never know when you’ll be walking down a street and find someone who has overdosed.
WANE 15’s reporting has shown record amounts of fentanyl being pulled off the streets in Fort Wayne. Captain Hunter has said that if they’re confiscating such high amounts of fentanyl, that means there’s more out there and it’s laced in pills and drugs that users may not be aware of.
That’s why The Fort Wayne Medical Society Alliance is also offering personal Narcan boxes for bars and businesses to keep inside. The personal boxes are especially made for businesses that want to help, but don’t own their building so they’re unable to have a Narcan box placed outside.
The Fort Wayne Medical Society Alliance’s six boxes are located at:
- O’Sullivans Italian Pub on Main St.
- Trinity United Methodist Church on Putnam St.
- Inasmuch Ministry on Broadway
- Headwaters Counseling on Calhoun St.
- Super Shot – Walk-In Clinic on Hobson Rd.
- North Coast Organics on Washington Blvd.
For businesses that are unable to place a box on their property or for bars and other venues that wish to have Narcan inside, the alliance also offers personal Narcan boxes that include CPR masks.
Anyone interested in an outdoor opioid rescue kit, or a personal Narcan box can contact the Fort Wayne Medical Society Alliance through its website.