194 people die every day from an opioid overdose in the United States. These deaths are preventable. Opioid overdose occurs for a variety reasons that include but are not limited to:
- Being prescribed a pain medication
- Using an opioid that is not prescribed to you
- Leaving treatment or incarceration
- Taking an opioid with other medication that depresses the respiratory system including sleep apnea.
It is also possible to overdose if you are not misusing an opioid, but are acquiring drugs from an unknown source. Most of the current drug supply is being tainted by the dangerous opioid fentanyl. Access to the opioid overdose antidote is essential.
Saving Lives with Naloxone
The opioid antidote, naloxone (Narcan™) is an inexpensive drug that works to reverse an opioid overdose by reversing the opioid effects and restoring breathing. Without any potential for abuse, it has been used with efficacy and safety in emergency rooms and ambulances in the United States for over forty years. Thousands of people have been saved with naloxone distributed by community-based overdose prevention programs. However, barriers still exist.
Individuals with substance misuse often feel shame and stigma regarding their drug use. The United States has made drug use a criminal offense, rather than a disease requiring chronic care and treatment. Access to naloxone is limited if we are requiring individuals to approach government agencies, pharmacies, or other entities that may appear authoritative.
Public Access to Naloxone
Overdose occurs in public spaces all the time, which could be avoided if naloxone was easily accessible. Much like AED machines, first aid kits and EpiPens.
In 2017 the State of Rhode Island introduced the naloxbox (https://naloxbox.org/)—a heavy-duty box (similar to an AED box) mounted to an outside wall, containing doses of naloxone. These boxes are a solution for communities to provide 24 hours a day 7 days a week access to saving lives.
Interested in a naloxbox for your community? Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
To request free Naloxone kits, visit our IN Naloxone Request & Report page.