Hamilton County, OH To Dispense 30,000 Doses Of Opioid Overdose Reversal Narcan Drug
In what is thought to be the first program of its kind in the nation, the Ohio county of Hamilton is collaborating with local hospitals, jails, church groups, and needle exchange programs that will be dispensing naloxone, the anti-opioid overdose drug. The objective is to get it as accessible as possible to drug users to saves lives in the event of an overdose.
Officials are set to meet and examine data to determine how the rate of opioid overdose deaths would be affected if the area were to be inundated with naloxone. In 2015, the county experienced at least 350 overdose deaths. Although emergency personnel carry the drug and have saved lives, too many people are continuing to die.
To obtain the naloxone, officials went straight to the source, Adapt Pharma, the company that makes the drug, also known as Narcan. They agreed to donate 30,000 nasal spray doses to the county. Now all are working together to dispense naloxone and gather and examine data to ascertain if getting tens of thousands of people access to the drug will positively impact the number of overdose fatalities.
Officials say they intend to dispense naloxone in the next 45 days, and the distribution will focus on areas of the county that have experienced the highest rates of overdose deaths.
They plant to collect data every 90 days or so for the next two years, will measure the number of doses dispensed, the number used, and the number that results in overdose fatalities that admissions to an ICU in the county.
According to sources, the coalition has been getting advice from drug users. Also, the sheriff’s office recommended that it receive extra doses of Narcan drug to dispense among partners and spouses of people who are administered the drug when officers are called to an overdose scene.
It will also be made available to persons in the county jail with convictions that are related to the use of opioids and are nearing their release date.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology