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Overdose response kits installed in downtown government buildings

Special to the Legal News

Published: May 10, 2022

Multiple clear plastic boxes containing life-saving Narcan and CPR masks were installed in public areas of two state government buildings downtown last week.
The measure, undertaken by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy and RecoveryOhio, was completed, in part, to promote use of kits by businesses and organizations to aid in the state’s fight against an opioid overdose epidemic that has ravaged the state.
The pharmacy board and RecoveryOhio, a state initiative to leverage resources to create a system that makes treatment available to Ohioans in need, installed nine NaloxBoxes in the Vern Riffe Center for Government and the Arts at the corner of South High and East State streets and Rhodes State Office Tower on East Broad Street.
Installation, which was in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, was completed in publicly accessible areas in each building to equip visitors with the tools needed to effectively respond to an opioid overdose.
“The shift to more potent opioids requires solutions that will keep our fellow citizens alive so that they can enter drug treatment,” state pharmacy board Executive Director Steven Schierholt said in a press release. “As a common-sense way to protect Ohioans, I encourage other organizations to consider installing NaloxBoxes to increase the accessibility of this life-saving medication.”
He said the measure is critical as the state and country continue to suffer from the devastating impacts of illicit fentanyl, which is 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine and has contributed to 81 percent of 2020 drug overdose deaths in Ohio.
The extent of the installation program is unclear, as the pharmacy board did not respond to an email inquiry from The Daily Reporter by publication deadline.
Installation of NaloxBoxes in strategic locations and making naloxone more accessible to Ohioans is an important step in combatting the opioid crisis and decreasing the overdose deaths in Ohio, the press release continued.
A fact sheet on the pharmacy board’s website noted that any individual who would like to install such a kit would be required to obtain a terminal distributor of dangerous drugs license. Additionally, the sheet lists educational and record-keeping requirements.
“Providing lifesaving NaloxBoxes in public spaces, will save lives,” RecoveryOhio Director Aimee Shadwick said in prepared remarks. “Reversing the impact of illicit, highly potent drugs, will hopefully give individuals the opportunity to seek treatment.”
The development builds on efforts made by the state to expand access to naloxone, the press release detailed. Last spring, OhioMHAS and RecoveryOhio deployed nearly $2.5M in funding to the 23 counties in Ohio who were experiencing the highest rates of unintentional opioid overdoses to use for additional supplies of naloxone and the installation of NaloxBoxes.
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