KOKOMO -- Police in Kokomo and Howard County are the latest in Indiana to have access to the heroin overdose-reversing drug Narcan. Community Howard Regional Health donated 150 Nalaxone – or Narcan -- drug kits.
The Narcan donation came about through the work of the Howard County Opioid Task Force, founded earlier this year by Superior Court Judge Bill Menges, to take a comprehensive approach to the heroin crisis. Menges took action after hearing from a court security officer about the death of drug offender who had been in Menges' court and released just days before the Fourth of July holiday.
“She was talking about how much wanted to spend the holiday with her kids," Menges said. "On July 3rd, she overdosed and died.”
The judge learned that 25 people had overdosed in Howard County by mid-July of this year – more than the total number for any other year.
The hospital will also train all police and resupply kits for two additional years, said Community Howard Regional Health president Joe Hooper.
“It’s a great example of what we can do as a partnership between a hospital and the entire community to help address a health issue and things that can be accomplished when we work together to do it,” Hooper said.
As a result of the task force, Menges says mental health providers have identified ways to get people evaluated for drug treatment more quickly. The hospitals and community corrections have also agreed, in principle, to establish inpatient opioid treatment in Howard County next year.