ADAMH to increase naloxone availability in Franklin County
Preparations underway to combat a seasonal spike in overdoses
To prevent overdose deaths from opioids, more than 5,000 additional doses of naloxone, the life-saving overdose reversal medication, are being distributed to front-line community agencies by the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board (ADAMH) of Franklin County.
The naloxone distribution is a partnership with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, targeting counties across the state with high suspected overdose deaths and overdose-related emergency visits, including Franklin County. It is part of the state’s ongoing efforts to promote widespread access to naloxone.
“Typically, we see a spike in overdoses as the weather warms. In preparation, we want to get more naloxone out into the community to prevent further overdose deaths,” said Kythryn Carr Harris, ADAMH vice president for clinical services.
In 2020, accidental overdose deaths in Franklin County were up by nearly half (+46%). Within each month of 2020 the county experienced a higher number of overdose deaths than the corresponding month in 2019, with the highest monthly increases observed in May through July.
Naloxone distribution in Franklin County will focus on the hardest hit zip codes: 43026, 43211, 43224, 43229, 43215, 43068, 43219; 43227, 43213, 43206, 43207, 43232, 43123, 43228, 43223 and 43204.
Provider agencies selected by ADAMH to respond with additional naloxone in those areas include North Community Counseling Centers, CompDrug, OhioGuidestone, Columbus Public Health, Community for New Direction, Maryhaven, Inc., and Southeast Healthcare. These agencies will conduct extensive community outreach to ensure the naloxone is distributed where it is most in need.
All naloxone being supplied through ADAMH is in nasal spray form. Family and friends of individuals with substance use disorders are encouraged to keep naloxone on hand. Naloxone is a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose.
Naloxone only works on overdoses caused by opioids. This family of drugs includes prescription painkillers like OxyContin, fentanyl, methadone, and Vicodin, as well as street drugs like heroin. Naloxone will not reverse overdose resulting from non-opioid drugs, like cocaine, benzodiazepines (“benzos”), or alcohol.
Given how safe naloxone is, a victim of a non-opioid overdose, or an overdose caused by a mixture of drugs will not be harmed by naloxone. In multiple drug overdoses (e.g., an opioid and a benzodiazepine) it is still worth administering naloxone as it will remove the effects of the opioid and may still reverse the overdose.