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Monroe Co. Sheriff installs naloxone vending machine, 20 doses distributed already

naloxone vending

The naloxone vending machine in the Monroe County Sheriff’s office. (WFIU/WTIU News, Bente Bouthier)

The Monroe County Sheriff’s office now houses one of 19 naloxone vending machines planned to be placed around the state.

The machine was installed March 24, and the Monroe County Jail Commander, Sam Crowe, said they’ve already distributed 20 doses of naloxone from the machine. Naloxone, or Narcan, is a medication used to reverse opioid overdose.

Officials unveiled the machine to the public Monday. Crowe said: “The more that we can get out in the community, the better off everyone is. Substance abuse is something that affects everyone.” 

Anyone can come and access the machine, and there is no charge. 

He added people leaving jail are at much higher risk for overdose after release, so having the vending machine in the correctional facility lobby is a valuable resource. He said it can now take up to three doses to treat someone for an overdose, which the vending machine notes. 

Justin Phillips, the executive director of Overdose Lifeline Inc., said there are barriers to getting the machines up around the state and wants Hoosiers to recognize their purpose to prevent people from dying from an overdose. 

She said misinformation about substance abuse and stigma surrounding addition creates challenges to getting law enforcement agencies on board with getting a Naloxone vending machine. 

The county did not have to pay for the service since Overdose Lifeline is purchasing the vending machines with a $72,600 federal grant made available through the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction. 

The vending machine holds up to 300 kits, and will be kept stocked through a partnership with Centerstone Monroe County. 

Phillips added Indiana saw a 32 percent increase in fatal overdose deaths from April 2020 to April 2021. She said an individual is up to 130 times more likely to experience an overdose death within two weeks following incarceration, compared to people who have not been involved in the criminal justice system.

Free naloxone kits, as well as instructions on how to administer the medicine, are available on Overdose Lifeline’s website.

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