Opioid-antidote Narcan is having an impact on the number of overdose deaths. According to the Indiana State Department of Health’s winter newsletter, the rate of unintentional drug poisoning deaths increased by nearly 900 percent from 1999 to 2015. In 2016, over 1,800 Hoosiers died from drug poisoning, mainly from opioids.
State health officials say Narcan, also known by the generic name naloxone, is one of the main tools they have to help combat the opioid epidemic. The Indiana State Department of Health says it’s gotten over $1.3 million in state and federal funding to distribute naloxone throughout the state. The department has given out 13,720 naloxone kits this year.
Several local first responders have been getting a lot of use out of the drug. A Pulaski County Sheriff’s deputy’s use of Narcan on an overdose victim in Clinton County back in September earned him a recognition from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. That same month, Starke County first responders reportedly ran out of Narcan, after a series of five apparent heroin overdoses in a six-hour period.
Now, first responders in rural counties, like Marshall, Starke, and Pulaski, can apply to receive additional kits in 2018. This week, the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office got permission from the county commissioners to apply for the kits. Applications are due by January 12.