First of two Nalox packing containers put in in Jackson County
Thanks to a government initiative announced in February, all 92 counties in Indiana will have 24/7 access to the opioid overdose reverse drug naloxone, also known as Narcan.
Recently, Jackson County officially became one of these counties.
Governor Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Mental Health and Addiction Department, in partnership with Overdose Lifeline Inc., announced on February 5 that NaloxBox units will be installed in every county in Indiana.
A NaloxBox is a hard acrylic box that is mounted on an outside wall and has 24/7 access to naloxone.
Kimberly Buck is a Narcan distributor for Overdose Lifeline, an Indiana nonprofit organization dedicated to serving individuals, families and communities affected by substance use disorders. She has been with the nonprofit since 2014 and has been tasked with deciding where to go the Jackson County’s two boxes and installing them as soon as she receives them.
Buck and her fiancé Derek Glaze helped install one of Jackson County’s two NaloxBoxes on the outside wall of the Anchor House Family Assistance Center and Pantry, 250 S. Vine St., Seymour, April 5.
“I never imagined we would have this and have community partners,” said Buck. “Megan (Cherry, General Manager of Anchor House) was so gracious, so acceptable and willing.”
Glaze thanked Kyle Stuckwisch of Ace Hardware for getting him a deal for the drill he used to install the box in the Anchor House.
Buck was able to place eight packs of two Narcan cans each in the NaloxBox. The packs also contain a referral for treatment, instructions on how to give Narcan, and additional information about what to do after someone has been given Narcan.
The Narcan cans in the NaloxBox are a newer model that is easier to use than a previous model that had to be assembled from three parts.
“It’s like an over-the-counter nasal spray,” said Buck.
There are no needles or injection syringes available in the NaloxBox.
Jackson County’s NaloxBoxes are checked every other day to make sure they are filled with Narcan. If stocks are not available, there is a number on the box where Narcan can be requested.
While Buck hasn’t received it yet, the other NaloxBox will be in Freetown. The temporary location is outside the Freetown Community Center, which is in the former Freetown High School high school on North Union Street.
Funding was made available for the NaloxBoxes from the federal agency for drug abuse and mental health government opioid response grant. There is at least one box in each county. More populous counties like Marion will get more.
To decide where the county’s two boxes to go, Buck said she looked at an Indiana Department of Health heat map that listed overdose hotspots and placed them accordingly.
She said she likes the low key location of Anchor House and also needs to find a place with a concrete outer wall to install the boxes. Your hope is that the location will provide privacy for people if they want to stop by the NaloxBox anonymously. The location is also near overdose hotspots in the area.
While at the nonprofit, Buck said Overdose Lifeline was generous in providing naloxone to its distributors.
In 2016, Jackson and Jennings counties had 19 overdoses in 24 hours, and Buck said police no longer had Narcan. In response, she was able to drive to the Overdose Lifeline location in Indianapolis and receive 100 doses of Narcan to be given to local law enforcement agencies.
According to the Indiana Department of Health, there were 10 overdose deaths in Jackson County in 2020.
Buck is no stranger to the world of drug addiction. Her son Devon Buck is currently 28 years old and in prison. He was addicted to intravenous heroin use for about seven years.
Because of her son’s addiction, she had to teach her daughter how to give Narcan at the age of 6. She found out when Narcan was given a vial and syringe to prevent her family from regretting his possible death.
There’s no one who shouldn’t be wearing Narcan, said Buck.
“It is for everyone, whether they are families or friends of loved ones,” she said.
But when it comes to administering Narcan, Buck offered some advice.
“If you don’t know what they took, give it to them anyway,” she said.