In conjunction with Franklin County, the city of Columbus is inviting opioid-addicted residents to order free naloxone, commonly (and sometimes incorrectly) referred to as Narcan, to help them reverse overdoses.

“Narcan distribution is part of our comprehensive programming to address the addiction crisis – and it is highly effective,” Columbus’ Director of Communications Kelli Newman told The Ohio Star. “Last year, through the Columbus & Franklin County Addiction Plan, we provided 24,144 Narcan kits (48,244 doses) and conducted 624 community trainings. As a result of Narcan being dispensed by bystanders, friends and family members, there were 3,699 overdose reversals in our community last year. Simply put, Narcan saves lives.”

Narcan comes in the form of a nasal spray.

“The Columbus and Franklin County Addiction Plan is our collaborative community plan to address the addiction crisis,” she continued.

Newman said the plan does more than just provide emergency remedies for those who are already addicted to drugs.

“The Columbus & Franklin County Addiction Plan includes many interventions to achieve these goals, such as providing prevention education in schools and youth organizations, conducting outreach events to distribute harm reduction and life-saving resources such as Narcan, partnering with faith-based organizations that identify as Recovery Congregations, expanding treatment and recovery housing capacity, and deploying a Quick Response Team that responds to overdose incidents and links individuals to medical detoxification and treatment,” she said.

According to the city of Columbus’ website, individuals can call and request free Narcan kits while supplies last. Those are then mailed to the recipient. It warns users to always call 911 in the case of an overdose, even if Narcan reverses that overdose.

Ohio has one of the worst overdose crises in the United States, according to the National Institute for Drug Abuse Statistics.

The state had 4,251 drug overdoses last year alone.

California had the most overdoses, 6,198. For perspective, California has almost four times as many residents as Ohio.

In a 12-month period from April of 2020 to April of 2021, the United States saw 75,673 opioid overdose deaths as the crisis continues to ravage the country.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Narcan nasal spray” by Governor Tom Wolfe CC BY 2.0.