overdose

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Sarah Fentem

A new study shows some people are still afraid to call 911 when helping an overdose victim, despite an Indiana law that permits friends and bystanders to administer the overdose antidote naloxone.

More than a quarter of people surveyed by two researchers at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis said they didn’t call 911 at the scene of an overdose for fear of arrest.

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Deaths from drug overdoses have continued to increase in Indiana, mirroring national trends reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week.

According to the CDC report, the national drug-related death rate has increased more than two and a half times since 1999.

In that same time period, state health department numbers show the number of drug overdose deaths in Indiana has gone up 570 percent. In 2015, 1,236 people died from drug-related OD's.

Craig Zirpolo

More than 500 pharmacies and treatment centers across the state can now distribute naloxone without a prescription under a new standing order from the Indiana state department of health.

The barriers to obtaining the overdose intervention drug have been falling throughout the last decade as the number of drug overdoses related to heroin and other opioids has increased statewide.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency

With more people dying from drug overdose in Indiana than car accidents, school administrators are clamoring for ways to help their students avoid the temptation of drugs.

The Indianapolis-based nonprofit Operation Lifeline has started an outreach program to fill that need.

Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Leigh DeNoon was on hand for one of the group’s recent presentations, and has this report.

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When Justin Phillips lost her son Aaron to a heroin overdose in October of 2013, she didn’t know there was a drug that could have saved his life. Now, she’s a passionate advocate of making naloxone available to people like her. At a recent Indiana House committee meeting, she told lawmakers that she doesn’t want other parents to go through what she did.

“Aaron was a brother, a friend, a talented quarterback, and an adolescent without a fully-formed decision-making center in his brain,” she said. “Aaron only used heroin for four short months. And he really wanted to quit.”

Flickr Creative Commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/intropin/4499124890

Last year, the General Assembly approved a bill allowing emergency medical technicians and first responders to use naloxone, a drug used to halt the effects of an overdose from drugs such as heroin. 

Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) says naloxone saves lives, and its success last year led to this year’s bill, which allows anyone to get a prescription for the drug.

“Go to the pharmacy, get the prescription, have it on their person, and possibly save the life of an addict in their house or someone on the cul-de-sac, in their community,” Merritt says.