News release from the Indiana Attorney General:
Indiana Attorney General Zoeller recognizes Fort Wayne Fire Department for creation of naloxone program, efforts to save lives
Zoeller urges first responders across state to apply for naloxone grant funding
(November 11, 2015) – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller recognized the Fort Wayne Fire Department today for implementing a naloxone program and helping to prevent opioid overdose deaths in the area. Zoeller presented the department with honorary pins first responders can wear to indicate they are trained to administer naloxone and save lives.
As creator and co-chair of the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force, Zoeller is urging all first responders and law enforcement entities to train and equip their officers with naloxone as a response to rising overdose deaths in the state. Naloxone, usually in the form of a nasal spray, works by counteracting the effects of an overdose of heroin or other opiate, and that in turn gives first responders additional time to get the unconscious patient to a hospital.
According to a 2015 Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) report, the number of heroin overdoses in Indiana more than doubled from 2011 to 2013. Three out of four new heroin users report having abused prescription opioids prior to using heroin.
“The Fort Wayne Fire Department is playing a critical role in responding to this public health emergency, saving lives and helping to link people to treatment,” Zoeller said. “Allen County residents are fortunate to have this type of leadership in their community as Indiana battles the opioid abuse epidemic in our state that is taking more lives than car accidents.”
Zoeller thanked the Fort Wayne Fire Department for their life-saving efforts and met with fire fighters at Station 7 today. The Station 7 B-shift crew made the department’s first save using naloxone only five hours after being trained. Since August, the Fort Wayne Fire Department has saved 15 lives by administering naloxone.
“Opiate abuse is found in all areas of the city and touches all socioeconomic strata,” Fort Wayne Fire Department Deputy Chief Adam O’Connor said. “Before the FWFD began carrying and administering naloxone, the average time of administration on overdose patients in emergency situations was 8.5 minutes, and now the FWFD average time is 1.5 minutes. This program is making a difference when mere minutes could be a matter of life and death.”
Zoeller also thanked Fort Wayne-Allen County Health Commissioner Deb McMahan for her leadership in the opioid abuse crisis. Commissioner McMahan as well as officers with the Fort Wayne Fire Department and Police Department and local medical professionals presented at the Attorney General’s recent Prescription Drug Abuse Symposium on Allen County’s collaborative approach to combatting opioid Zoeller encouraged other first responders and law enforcement in Northeast Indiana to implement naloxone programs.
Zoeller recently announced a new grant program to fund a surge in naloxone distribution, with the goal of insuring all first responders are equipped with the life-saving treatment and trained to administer it.
Nonprofits registered with ISDH to distribute naloxone kits and provide training on the use of naloxone to law enforcement and other first responders can apply for grant funding from the Attorney General’s Office.
The new grant program is funded by a recent pharmaceutical settlement reached between the Attorney General’s Office and Amgen for deceptive drug promotion. The initial wave of available funding is set at $100,000.
To apply for a grant, eligible nonprofits must submit a plan to the Attorney General’s Office detailing which first responders in their service area are in need of naloxone, whether any jurisdictions in their service area are high risk, whether any jurisdictions have a demonstrated financial need to fund naloxone programs, and an estimated count of naloxone kits needed in the service area. The nonprofits must also detail their plan and timeline for training first responders on naloxone kits.
The individual award amounts will be determined based on the geographic service areas the nonprofit can reach, and the quantity of law enforcement agencies and first responders within that specific area per approved application.
A naloxone kit containing one dose costs approximately $75. The Attorney General’s Office anticipates the first wave of the grant program to fund the distribution of at least 1,000 naloxone kits to first responders. Zoeller said the program may be expanded depending on future need.
The Attorney General’s Office is accepting applications for the grants through Dec. 1, 2015. Grants will be awarded at the start of 2016. For more information about the grant program and how to apply, visitand click on “Harm Reduction -Naloxone Training for First Responders.”
More information on naloxone efforts can be found atunder “Harm Reduction.”