INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced Thursday the recipients of a grant program that trains and equips first responders with naloxone, an antidote to drug overdoses.
Three Indiana nonprofit organizations were awarded a total of $127,000 to distribute naloxone kits and provide training to first responders. Those organizations include Overdose Lifeline Inc., Indiana Naloxone Project, and the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County. The Attorney General’s office said these nonprofits will distribute the kits to first responders in high need or high risk counties.
According to the state department of health, opioid painkillers and opioid-based heroin caused at least one third of the drug overdose deaths in Indiana in 2013. Other data from ISDH suggests that drug overdoses rose again in 2014, with about 1,150 deaths and more than 12,000 non-fatal hospital admissions.
“The death toll from drug overdose continues to rise, with opioid pain killers andopioid-based heroin now causing at least a third of all overdose deaths in Indiana,”Zoeller said. “Heroin deaths particularly have doubled in just the past few years. And quite frankly I expect it to get worse this year before it gets better.”
Zoeller started the grant program in October of 2015. This is the first round of grants that have been given out.
Overdose Lifeline operates statewide, and while it has identified high priority counties, it is still accepting applications. Agencies in northeast Indiana are encouraged to contact the organization if they are interested in receiving training and kits.
A month after Zoeller announced his grant, he recognized the Fort Wayne Fire Department for implementing a naloxone program. Police in Kosciusko County also have trained with the antidote.
It is estimated that 56 law enforcement agencies across the state have been trained and equipped with naloxone, including county sheriffs’ departments, municipal police departments and campus police departments.