SHELBYVILLE, Ind. (WISH) – Shelby County is the latest to install “Naloxboxes” in public spaces to battle the ongoing opioid epidemic.
A Naloxbox is an emergency overdose kit, available 24/7, attached to the outside wall of a public building like a community center, church or nonprofit. Each clear acrylic box is stocked with six to seven doses of Narcan, or naloxone, the one-dose nasal spray that reverses an opioid overdose. Boxes also contain use instructions and treatment referral cards.
The two in Shelbyville are at All Souls Church at 105 North Vine Street and in between two nonprofits at 26 West Broadway Street, next to the fire station.
The boxes are the result of a partnership between the State of Indiana and Overdose Lifeline, announced by Governor Eric Holcomb in February. Funding is provided by the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction via the State Opioid Response Grant.
Overdose Lifeline COO Ryan Keys says the partnership provides enough kits to put two in each of Indiana’s 92 counties. He says 66 counties have already expressed interest in installing one. He hopes all counties will welcome the free assistance and overcome the stigma and occasional denial of the opioid crisis in Indiana.
Where boxes are installed, Keys says they’re already in use. The first box was installed in Marion County at the Indiana Interchurch Center (1100 W 42nd Street, Indianapolis) more than a month ago, and Keys says six doses have been pulled out of it this week alone.
He says he hopes the people pulling doses are not just those addicted to drugs or people with addicted friends or family, but people who work in gas stations, restaurants or places where public interaction is high.
“One of the restaurant owners said he found someone in the restroom who had used and he thought he was dead and the paramedics got there and used Naloxone and he walked out,” said Keys. “It was amazing. So, you don’t know when and where, but it’s out there.”
“We’re committed to raising awareness about the need for bystanders to carry this lifesaving drug,” said Governor Eric Holcomb in a February statement about the Naloxboxes.
Keys says his agency works with community partners to place boxes in strategic areas. For example, his team used a heat map from the Marion County Public Health Department indicating EMS overdose calls to find county hotspots.
Businesses or community entities who wish to receive a NaloxBox should contact Justin Phillips, founder and executive director of Overdose Lifeline, Inc. at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So far, Keys says boxes have been requested for Anderson, Angola, Aurora, Batesville, Bedford, Chesterton, Columbus, Commiskey, Connersville, Crawfordsville, Crown Point, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Greenfield, Indianapolis, Marion, Nashville, Scottsburg, Sellersburg, Shelbyville, South Bend, Terre Haute, Vincennes, West Baden, West Freetown, West Lafayette and Winimac.
You can also view an interactive map of installed boxes here. Keys says newly installed boxes may take some time to show up on the map.
First responders, families, caregivers, and other individuals who would like to receive a supply of naloxone can register online.