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It's about saving lives

Last week, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams issued an important advisory regarding the opioid overdose antidote naloxone.

Before being recruited to Washington, D.C., Adams led the Indiana State Department of Health.

The antidote has been used by EMTs and emergency departments for decades, effectively reversing the effects of many opioid-induced overdoses. But Adams is now calling on the general public – particularly those who interact with individuals addicted to opioids – to carry naloxone and help save lives, too.

Adams’s advisory may not be enough to end the opioid epidemic, but it is a necessary tool to save lives and reduce harm while other policies slowly take effect.

The antidote is available in Indiana without a prescription, a policy Adams enacted during his tenure here as state health commissioner.

Naloxone is not addictive and is fairly simple to administer. Training is available online and in person and is periodically offered by the Clinton County Health Department, which often distributes the antidote for free, in conjunction with Healthy Communities of Clinton County.

Lay persons are often in a position to detect an overdose early, which is why naloxone is now available to the general public. Of course, anyone administering naloxone should also call 911 so proper medical care is given. There are other precautions that should be taken as well.

Exposure to paraphernalia like used needles may be dangerous, and synthetic opioids like fentanyl, the stuff that killed Prince, pose a distinct risk as the drug may be absorbed through the skin, not just by inhalation. Fentanyl is so powerful, in fact, that it may take multiple doses of naloxone to reverse an overdose after exposure. It is important to avoid touching surfaces that may be contaminated with fentanyl, heroin or other substances.

First responders have said overdoses often occur when an addict gets drugs from a different supplier who “cuts” their drugs differently than one’s regular dealer. So anyone with information that opioids and heroin may be entering the community from a new source, you protect users, those living with them, law enforcement and first responders from the risk of overdose by informing local authorities immediately.

Tips about drugs or any crime can be texted anonymously to TIP FRANKFORTPD, followed by your message, to 888777.

Anyone who may be exposed to fentanyl should take extreme caution. The DEA suggests moving outdoors and washing the exposed area with soap and water immediately. Medical attention may be needed as well. We suggest calling 911 when fentanyl is possibly present.