Naloxone kit grant program for Indiana first responders announced by attorney general

The nonprofit organizations receiving $127,000 in grants will work with police, fire and EMS to provide resources and training

INDIANAPOLIS — Three Indiana organizations were awarded $127,000 in grants to distribute naloxone kits and provide training to first responders.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced the recipients of his office’s newly created naloxone grant program Thursday. Zoeller is creator and co-chair of the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force, established in 2012.

"Indiana is in crisis mode as it responds to disastrously high rates of drug addiction and overdose," Zoeller said. "Law enforcement has taken an active role in triaging this crisis by administering naloxone when officers arrive first on the scene of an overdose, when mere minutes could be the difference between life and death. Ensuring all of Indiana’s first responders are trained and ready to save a life with naloxone is a critical and necessary response to this public health emergency."

Zoeller established the grant program in October 2015 to help encourage and create an opportunity for all first responders in Indiana to get equipped with the life-saving naloxone treatment kits and trained to administer them. The grant program is paid for with settlement funds received by the Attorney General’s office for off-label and deceptive marketing by pharmaceutical companies. 

The three nonprofit organizations registered with the Indiana State Department of Health were Overdose Lifeline Inc., Indiana Naloxone Project, and Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County.

The nonprofits are tasked with distributing naloxone to first responders in counties identified as high need or high risk, though their coverage ability extends statewide. Law enforcement agencies in the most underserved counties are the initial target for the funding.

According to the Indiana State Department of Health, opioid painkillers and heroin caused at least one-third of the drug overdose deaths in Indiana in 2013. Provisional data from ISDH suggests that drug overdoses rose again in 2014, with about 1,150 deaths and more than 12,000 nonfatal hospital admissions.

Zoeller plans to operate the naloxone grant program on a continuing basis, as needed, using remaining pharmaceutical settlement funds.

Overdose Lifeline Inc., a nonprofit that works to raise awareness and eliminate the stigma of drug addiction, is receiving the bulk of the award at $75,000. The nonprofit will work directly with first responder agencies that express interest in receiving naloxone training and kits, based on greatest need.

"Overdose Lifeline’s primary goal is to put naloxone into the hands of law enforcement officers, first responders and others who have the greatest chance of saving lives," said Justin Phillips, founder and president of Overdose Lifeline and mother of heroin overdose victim Aaron Sims. "If just one young life is saved by a first responder administering naloxone, than our efforts are worth it."

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