COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Ohio Department of Health Director Rick Hodges, and Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Director Tracy Plouck today held the first of multiple phone banks to inform local agencies about the availability of the life-saving medication naloxone.
When given to a person overdosing on heroin or a prescription opioid, naloxone can limit or stop the overdose by reversing the effects of the opioid on the brain.
During the phone banks, staff members are contacting law enforcement agencies, health departments, and other first responders across the state to discuss the cost-saving measures in place to make naloxone more affordable.
Today, volunteers, including officers from the Dublin Police Department and Perry Township (Franklin County) Police Department, made hundreds of calls from the Attorney General’s offices in Columbus, Cleveland, and Toledo.
“We want local agencies to know about naloxone because it’s a matter of saving lives, and I believe that carrying naloxone is the right thing to do,” said Attorney General DeWine. “The number of opioid overdose deaths would be much higher in Ohio if not for the lives being saved by naloxone. Those who suffer an overdose deserve a second chance at life, and naloxone can give them that chance.”
Earlier this month, Attorney General DeWine announced that he renewed an agreement with Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to allow non-federal public entities in Ohio to receive a $6 rebate for each Amphastar naloxone syringe purchased until next March. So far, nearly 60 Ohio agencies have applied for more than $151,000 in rebates to offset the cost of the life-saving drug.
Ohio Governor John Kasich also committed $1 million over fiscal years 2016 and 2017 to help county health departments provide naloxone to local law enforcement, emergency personnel, and other first responders.
“Expanding access to naloxone is an important part of Ohio’s comprehensive strategy to combat the opiate epidemic,” said OhioMHAS Director Tracy Plouck. “Bottom line: it saves lives and gives an individual another opportunity to seek treatment before it’s too late.”
“Naloxone can save lives and reverse opiate overdoses,” said ODH Director Rick Hodges. “By expanding access across the state through local health departments and first responders, we can get these life-saving kits out to all communities in Ohio.”
For information on how to apply for the Amphastar rebates visit www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/NaloxoneRebate.
More information on the $1 million in grants available for county health departments, which are allocated on a per capita basis, is available on the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services website.