Steuben County issues outdoor Narcan overdose kits to 3 fire departments for public use
Steuben County is addressing the opioid crisis by making Narcan, the opioid overdose-reversing drug, available to the public at local fire departments.
The Naloxone overdose emergency kits are located on the outside of firehouses in Addison, Caton and Hammondsport. The kits provide access to the drug to rural areas of the county. Naloxone is the generic name for Narcan.
The kits, also called NaloxBoxes, were delivered earlier this month. One outdoor kit holds nine units of Narcan. Anyone can open the kit and take what they need. It is free to the public.
“This is an experiment to see how these three boxes work,” said Connie Terry, program assistant for the Steuben County Prevention Coalition Opioid Committee (SPCOC). “Addison fire department was the first fire department to put theirs up, like they were on board immediately. And I can tell you, already five boxes have been removed from their unit. So that tells me that there is support within the community and there's need within the community.”
Terry explained that Narcan is regulated by the temperature and cannot be in extreme heat or cold. The drug cannot be above 110 degrees or below negative five degrees. She said fire personnel should monitor the temperature and either bring the Naloxone inside in a cold snap or insulate the outdoor units for the upcoming winter. The outdoor kits are waterproof.
According to Terry, so far this year, there have been 266 suspected overdoses, 12 overdose fatalities and Narcan was administered 77 times in Steuben County. Bath and Corning reported the highest overdose numbers in the county with 77 and 76, respectively. Hornell reported 22 and Addison reported 14.
The county’s public health department and SPCOC are waiting for final toxicology reports from the coroners’ offices for confirmation on opioid-related incidences. Other reported overdoses include cocaine, alcohol and methamphetamines. Narcan only works on opioids.
“We started with places where we suspected there would be higher need because we wanted to get it to the people who really needed it, of course for free,” expressed Terry. “And now we are kind of branching out. We'd really like to get them to businesses, like Walmart for example, grocery stores. Because an opioid overdose can happen in the middle of the day. It can happen late at night, it can happen at any time. And it can happen anywhere. So we want to have the Narcan out there, where it's needed.”
NaloxBoxes are available through a $25,000 allocation from the Steuben County Legislature.
The money also covers opioid public service announcement billboards that will be placed around the county in November and December, and medicine lock boxes to protect prescription drugs. It is part of the national opioid settlement funds from companies that played a part in the opioid crisis, including Johnson & Johnson, McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc., Amerisource Bergen Drug Corporation, Allergan Finance, Endo, McKinsey & Company, CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart.
In March, the county distributed 29 indoor NaloxBox units to area schools, county buildings and motels, including SUNY Corning Community College, Southeast Steuben County Library, Steuben County Mental Health Offices in Bath, Hornell and Corning, Erwin Motel, Crystal City Inn and Super 8 in Bath.
One indoor kit holds four units of Narcan. The opioid-reversal drug is safe for use by all ages.
Narcan training is free and available through Steuben County Public Health and SPCOC.