2016-10-18 / Front Page

As opioid issue grows, antidote becoming more readily available

by Michael Stanley
Staff Writer


Owen County EMS personnel have been and continue to be equipped with a life-saving drug, Naloxone, administered to reverse the impact of a heroin overdose. (Staff Photo) Owen County EMS personnel have been and continue to be equipped with a life-saving drug, Naloxone, administered to reverse the impact of a heroin overdose. (Staff Photo) A prevalence of heroin in the Hoosier State, along with a long standing issue of prescription opioid abuse is prompting state officials to make an antidote more readily available, among other measures.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced an additional $400,000 grant through the Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force to equip first responders with naloxone. The drug is injected as a fast-acting antidote for overdoses of opiates.

In Owen County, all the local fire departments are certified through the Owen County Emergency Medical Service commission as B.L.S.(basic life support) non transport units. These agencies work hand in hand with OCEMS and director Cris Lunsford, but have not yet began carrying the antidote.

“We’ve been carrying naloxone for as long as we’ve been paramedics, so as far as the EMS is concerned, it won’t change what we do. We carry it and administer it on occasion,” Lunsford explained. “There has been some discussion about fire departments carrying it, they are setting up training for those who are interested. Sheriff’s and police departments have shown interest as well.

Seven Indiana counties are currently under a public health emergency per Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Jerome Adams, and are using a needle-exchange program to help curb the spread of HIV and hepatitis C. The closest is Owen County’s neighbor to the east, Monroe.

“We haven’t seen a big increase in the need to use it, but it seems like in this area right now, we’re starting to see a little bit of heroin, but not very much,” Lunsford added. “I hope it stays that way.”

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