Eskenazi Health Partners with Overdose Lifeline to Improve Access to Naloxone

Indianapolis, April 13, 2022 – As the opioid crisis continues to plague the nation, Eskenazi Health is working with state leaders to help people overcome substance use and reduce the stigma around seeking help. Part of this work includes increasing access to naloxone, a lifesaving medication used to combat overdose.

Eskenazi Health announced today the placement of Indiana’s newest naloxone vending machine, located at Eskenazi Health Center West 38th Street, as well as 10 NaloxBoxes, installed on the exterior of Eskenazi Health Center buildings allowing for 24/7 access.

Gov. Eric J. Holcomb first announced the statewide naloxone distribution initiative in 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 shake the scourge of addiction from our communities. Naloxone vending machines are a practical tool to prevent overdoses and save lives.”

Naloxone 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.

A NaloxBox is a hard acrylic box mounted to an exterior wall that provides 24/7 access to naloxone and is an effective measure of addressing the increase of opioid overdoses in Indiana. Each unit contains six to eight naloxone kits. An interactive map showing NaloxBox locations around the state can be viewed at www.overdoselifeline.org/naloxone-boxes-and-distribution-centers.

Overdose Lifeline, Inc., is providing the vending machine and NaloxBox units using federal grant funds made available through the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA). There is no cost to entities that implement NaloxBoxes and vending machines.

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.

Naloxone is a medication that temporarily reverses opioid overdose and can save lives. It is recommended to be readily available for those who: currently take an opioid; are being rotated from one opioid to another; smoke or have a respiratory illness (COPD, sleep apnea, asthma); have heart, hepatic or renal disease, or HIV; use alcohol, benzodiazepines, sedatives or antidepressants; have a history of opioid intoxication or overdose; live in a remote location; take methadone or buprenorphine for opioid use disorder; and/or have a suspected history of substance use or nonmedical opioid use.

“Eskenazi Health is excited to join with Overdose Lifeline in providing the means for individuals to easily obtain life-saving naloxone nasal spray,” said Tyler Stepsis, M.D., medical director of the Michael & Susan Smith Emergency Department at Eskenazi Health. “Our emergency department has treated many patients who have received or are in need of naloxone due to opioid overdose, and when given to those who have overdosed as soon as possible, we have witnessed many of those patients recover quickly.”

“Eskenazi Health is one of America’s largest essential health care systems, and we’re hoping our new partnership will be a catalyst for similar organizations to consider joining us in this life-saving endeavor,” said Justin Phillips, executive director and founder of Overdose Lifeline. “Thanks to support from the Division of Mental Health and Addiction and partnerships with community members, grassroots organizations, correctional facilities, and health care providers, Overdose Lifeline has distributed over 128,000 doses of naloxone throughout Indiana. We’re certain that the more partnerships with health care systems we attain, the more lives will be saved by this vital and incredibly effective medication.”

All Eskenazi Health NaloxBoxes and the vending machine are stocked with naloxone in the form of a nasal spray. As part of the partnership with Overdose Lifeline and the state, all units will be monitored regularly to check supplies and maintain upkeep without intervention needed by Eskenazi Health Center team members.“

Naloxone is also available for free from all Eskenazi Health Pharmacy locations around the city with no prescription needed. Additionally, when a patient is prescribed an opioid, they are automatically provided a prescription for naloxone. Project POINT (Planned Outreach, Intervention, Naloxone, and Treatment), a collaboration between the Michael & Susan Smith Emergency Department at Eskenazi Health, Indianapolis EMS and Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center, is another key effort in helping to address the opioid epidemic. Project POINT provides naloxone and seeks to link people to treatment for substance use.

Eskenazi Health is not the first health system to partner on this initiative. Clark Memorial Hospital in Jeffersonville, Ind., is also taking part. The only difference with Eskenazi Health is the roll-out of NaloxBoxes in conjunction with the vending machine.

Access to naloxone is just one of many resources Eskenazi Health makes available to its patients and the community. Additional help for addiction counseling and treatment is available through Eskenazi Health Center, Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center Addiction Services, Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center Narcotics Treatment Program and the Central Indiana Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Center (833.533.2272, https://addictionrecoveryindy.com).

Overdose Lifeline is a statewide Indiana non-profit dedicated to helping individuals, families and communities affected by the disease of addiction/substance use disorder. Through advocacy, education and support, Overdose Lifeline envisions a time when the disease of addiction does not carry a stigma but is provided the attention and care required of a chronic disease. To learn more about Overdose Lifeline’s naloxone distribution opportunities, or to request a free naloxone kit, visit https://www.overdoselifeline.org/.

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