INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Overdose fatalities have gone up by 25% since the start of the pandemic.
With money from the state and distribution help by Overdose Lifeline, Naloxboxes are going up around Indiana. The boxes contain naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal treatment.
For years, the face of opioid abuse looked the same. But we now know it’s impacting communities of all kinds. And with minority communities seeing spikes in overdoses, advocates say the latest Naloxbox, in the Martindale-Brightwood community, could help save more lives.
The Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood is roughly bordered by East 30th Street to the north, North Sherman Drive to the east, Massachusetts Avenue to the south, and the Monon Trail to the west. The neighborhood includes Frederick Douglass Park, JTV Hill Park, and the I-70 interchange at North Rural Street and North Keystone Avenue.
A small white bottle could be the difference between life and death for someone experiencing an opioid overdose. And it’ll cost you nothing.
“You never know where you will be or who will be around and when this can be useful,” said Erica Ashford, intern in the PACE recovery resource center.
The center works with people who’ve been in the criminal justice system and have substance abuse issues. Ashford said a lot of time when we think of opioid overdose, we think of a certain ethnicity. But PACE is raising awareness that Black and brown communities also suffer.
“The rate of overdose is increasing. So just since the pandemic, 25% increase in overdose fatalities with African American men.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, roughly 130 Americans die daily from overdoses. That’s one of the reasons the state moved forward with a plan to get free Naloxboxes installed in counties around the state. One of Marion County’s boxes is at the PACE Center.
“We realize that we can’t control what people do. So if people use, we definitely want to offer them services; we want to help them in anyway,” Ashford said. “But if they choose to use, then at least we’re saving their life with this.”
The box sits just outside the building and is accessible 24 hours a day and fully stocked. You just open it and take one.
“It may come with a lot of stigma, a lot of negative thoughts, but at the end of the day, it’s truly about saving a life.”
And if you see someone in trouble, don’t be scared to help. Aaron’s Law protects anybody who’s administering the treatment.