FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) — On a Wednesday evening, people slowly trickled inside the Delaware Township Government Center. In the conference room, bags of Narcan were in bunches on top of the table.
The Hamilton County Health Department gave away the device with the medication naloxone that is used to block the effects of opioids or in cases of an overdose.
“We were able to provide the service for free and make them feel if they do have a family member on it they can save that family member’s life,” said James Ginder, an education specialist with the Health Department.
Narcan has a retail value of $75.
Agencies across central Indiana use the drug daily to revive those that overdose. From 2011-2016, Indianapolis Emergency Services handed out 5,800 doses of Narcan to opioid abusers. In that same time frame 27 percent were repeat offenders.
It appears the remaining 73 percent either recovered, died or are currently incarcerated.
24-Hour News 8 watched in the past as emergency medical services workers used Narcan on patients. Getting Narcan to those that need is not always easy, that is part of the reason why the Hamilton County Health Department is teaching classes on opioid abuse and showing others how to use it.
During the session, those in attendance listened intently as the instructor showed how to use the drug.
“The reason I’m getting the Narcan is for myself because I’m on pain meds,” said George Martin.
Martin attended the Narcan giveway for two reasons. He wanted to know how to use Narcan in case he suffered some type of side effects. Also, over the years, Martin has seen people overdose from heroin. He added that each year he sees more and more people who have overdose on opioids.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has estimated 175 people die each day from the opioid crisis. President Donald Trump tapped Christie to chair a commission designed to provide solutions to opioid abuse in America.
Christie shared that in New Jersey his state will spend $500 million on addressing the opioid crisis. He also added that, in New Jersey, the first person someone who overdoses sees when they regain conscious is a drug counselor.
The Indiana Attorney General’s Office invited Christie in to speak during the eighth annual Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Symposium.
“We are the most sedated and medicated country in the world,” Christie said.
Those are among the reasons the Hamilton County Health Department is giving away Narcan to help those struggling with the opioid crisis.