To address opioid overdoses in the community, Johnson County nonprofit Upstream Prevention installed 14 NaloxBoxes in government buildings and a church over the summer.
Upstream Prevention’s executive director Kathleen Ratcliff said there were 62 overdose deaths in Johnson County in 2020, more than a 100 percent increase from the year before.
"We’ve definitely seen an impact between 2019 and 2020 with an increase in deaths and increases in emergency department visits specifically related to an increase in deaths related to fentanyl.”
She added part of the solution is increasing access to Naloxone, and community walkability can be a challenge when trying to make sure people can get doses of the opioid reversal medicine.
“So we do have some transportation challenges," she said. "So trying to put it in those different hot spots in those high traffic areas where people are going to be anyway helps increase that access.”
Ratcliff said the Johnson County Library was one of the first places to get a box. Upstream also offers trainings to administer Naloxone.
Ratcliff said funding for the boxes came from the Indiana CAREs Echo grant, which is funded by the Centers for Disease Control, as well as private funds like the Duke Energy Foundation.
In 2020, Indiana had more than 2,300 drug overdoses. Ratcliff said preliminary counts for 2021 are above 2,500.