Clark Memorial Health first hospital in the state with a naloxone vending machine
January 19, 2022
Clark Memorial Health is the first hospital in the state of Indiana with a naloxone vending machine. The machine is one of 19 to be placed statewide and will be available for use by the public. Gov. Eric J. Holcomb first announced the initiative in December 2021.
“There is no single solution to ending this epidemic that has taken the lives of thousands of Hoosiers,” Gov. Holcomb said. “We can, however, take thoughtful steps to help our communities. Naloxone vending machines are a practical tool to prevent overdoses and save lives.”
Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a medication approved to reverse an overdose from opioids and is given when a person is showing signs of opioid overdose to block the deadly effects of the overdose.
The vending machines are programmed to dispense free naloxone kits. Each kit includes a single dose of naloxone, instructions for use, and a referral to treatment for substance use disorder. The machine holds up to 300 naloxone kits and is free to access.
Overdose Lifeline, Inc., an Indiana nonprofit dedicated to helping those affected by substance use disorder, is partnering with the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA) to identify community sites interested in a vending machine to distribute the lifesaving medication.
Overdose Lifeline will purchase the vending machines using federal grant funds totaling $72,600 made available through DMHA. There is no cost to entities that implement a vending machine.
“We must continue to ensure widespread access to naloxone, given the lingering impact of COVID-19 and the increased supply of fentanyl in our county,” said Dr. Eric Yazel, health officer for the Clark County Health Department. “Every life lost to a drug overdose is one too many. Naloxone offers the opportunity to get individuals with substance use disorder on the path to long-term recovery.”
Indiana reported a 32% increase in fatal overdoses during the 12-month period beginning in April 2020 and ending in April 2021, according to provisional data released in November by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“This machine gives Clark County residents zero-barrier access to a medication that could mean the difference between life and death,” said Aaron Edwards, director of Behavioral Health Services at Clark Memorial Health. “Clark Memorial Health is proud to be the recipient of one of the state’s first naloxone vending machines, and we applaud Governor Holcomb’s commitment to address the drug epidemic.”
The machine is located outside the Emergency Department.
To learn about Overdose Lifeline’s naloxone distribution opportunities or to request a free naloxone kit, visit www.overdoselifeline.org.