Overdoses have surged during the past year, likely as an impact of COVID-19. Four out of the five Ohio counties with the highest overdose rates in 2020 were ECI counties. One way to address the rising overdose rates is to make lifesaving naloxone available in public places. Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a medication that quickly reverses the effects of an opioid overdose by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain and preventing the effects of opioids. Naloxone boxes, such as Naloxbox, are a way to increase access. Similar to AED defibrillators, these boxes are mounted to walls in public places and contain naloxone and instructions for administration for emergency overdose situations. These naloxone boxes can be put in libraries, public health buildings, homeless shelters, and other buildings where individuals may be at a higher risk of experiencing an overdose. Increasing the availability of naloxone in public places can equip bystanders to save lives by providing access and instructions for naloxone administration. The visibility of naloxone boxes in public may also have the added benefit of reducing the stigma associated with the life saving treatment.
Despite the benefits of naloxone boxes, the resource is limited in Ohio. There are only nine Naloxbox locations in Ohio – most of which are located in the Cincinnati, Cleveland, Akron, and Dayton areas. Please visit this link if you would like more information about how to implement a Naloxbox in your community. Additionally, there are other ways to access naloxone. Many pharmacies in Ohio have standing orders for naloxone. Project DAWN sites also offer naloxone and information on administration. If you’d like naloxone mailed directly to your home, please visit Harm Reduction Ohio’s website to order your kit.