By Andi TenBarge
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller Tuesday recognized Johnson County law enforcement and Johnson Memorial Hospital for their efforts to equip officers with Naloxone.
Naloxone – also known as Narcan – is an intervention drug that reverses heroin overdose effects. The drug is administered through a syringe – without a needle – and shot into the user’s nose.
Health officials say Johnson Memorial Hospital has distributed 221 naloxone kits to police officers throughout the county. Of those 221 naloxone kits distributed, 14 kits have been used.
“Often, it’s police officers who arrive first on the scene of an overdose and may be able to save someone’s life when mere minutes could make the difference,” Zoeller said. “Johnson County should serve as a model for other communities hoping to stop rising overdose deaths and give a chance at recovery.”
Last session, lawmakers passed a measure that allows individuals to obtain and administer an overdose antidote known as naloxone or Narcan to have on hand in case a friend or family member overdoses.
Previously, the law only allowed health professional, police and emergency workers to administer the drug.
In an effort to equip other counties with the drug, Zoeller unveiled a new grant program in October that aims to give all first responders the antidote and the proper training to administer it.
The new program is funded through a recent pharmaceutical settlement between the attorney general’s office and Amgen for deceptive drug promotion. First responders can apply for grant funding through the attorney general’s office.
Nonprofits registered with the Indiana State Department of Health started to distribute naloxone kits and training to law enforcement. Eligible nonprofits must present a plan to the attorney general’s office with the following:
- A plan of how they will distribute the training
- An outline of what first responders in their service areas are in need of naloxone
- Identify if any areas are considered high risk within the service area
- Explain if the jurisdiction has a financial need for the grant
Kristen Kelley, the director of the Indiana Prescription Drug Task Force, said heroin usage is a growing problem in the state.
“We’ve noticed that there has been a significant decrease in the amount of prescriptions that have been issued for opioids but the unintended consequence is that the use of heroin has increased,” Kelley said during the 2015 session.
Andi TenBarge is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students.