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Feb 09 2022

Press Release: Regional Health Systems receives NaloxBoxes, offers free life-saving medication Narcan to public

Media contacts: Hannah Reed, hannah.reed@regionalgroup.care  

Merrillville, IN — Regional Health Systems, a member of Regional Care Group, now has three NaloxBoxes across Lake County, making the life-saving medication naloxone available to anyone who wants it. 

The boxes are part of a state-wide project coordinated by Overdose Lifeline and the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration Division of Mental Health and Addiction. 

These boxes will be installed on the outside of the building and will hold six Narcan (naloxone) kits,” said Kathy Hartman-McCarthy, service director of Adult Acute Intensive Services at Regional Health Systems. “Anyone can drive up and pick up a Narcan kit without entering the building.” 

A NaloxBox is an emergency overdose kit attached to the outside wall of a public building. Each box contains multiple doses of naloxone, which is a nasal spray that can be used for emergency treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose. The doses in the NaloxBoxes, located at RHS locations in East Chicago, Merrillville and Hammond, are free for the public to take. 

Amanda Morrison, manager of Geminus Prevention Services and Supporting Addiction Free Environments (SAFE), wrote a grant through the Indiana Department of Health in order to get Narcan, or naloxone, for Lake County, which will be placed in the boxes. 

Morrison said when she first applied for the grant, SAFE was able to get more than 50 professionals in Lake County trained to provide trainings to other organizations and people, proving to be a beneficial way to share knowledge and understanding regarding the opioid epidemic while familiarizing people with the Know the Facts campaign — a statewide stigma reduction campaign — legislation related to naloxone, common opioid drug names, recognizing the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose and how to use naloxone provided to them. 

“Within our prevention department and through the SAFE coalition we were seeing a great need for this resource as opioid overdoses were increasing every year,” Morrison said. “So SAFE stepped up and applied to receive Narcan through the Indiana Department of Health.” 

Overdose Lifeline, Inc., an Indiana nonprofit dedicated to helping individuals, families and communities affected by substance use disorder through advocacy, education, harm reduction, prevention, resources, and support, intends to purchase and place 215 NaloxBox units across the state, including at least one in every county.  

Overdose Lifeline, Inc. negotiated a purchase price with the manufacturer of $58,200 to include 215 NaloxBox units and shipping costs. Funds were made available by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s state opioid response grant. 

Once supplies are stocked and the boxes are installed and functional, the Regional Health Systems locations will be placed on Overdose Lifeline’s Indiana Naloxone boxes and distribution center map. The boxes will be checked by Regional Health Systems staff frequently, and stocked whenever needed. 

“Making overdose response tools like naloxone readily available to any Hoosier who may encounter an individual suffering from an overdose is critical in addressing the drug epidemic,” said Douglas Huntsinger, executive director for drug prevention, treatment and enforcement for the State of Indiana. “We’re committed to raising awareness about the need for bystanders to carry this lifesaving drug, which is why we’ve made it available via so many avenues, oftentimes at no cost to Hoosiers.” 

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About Regional Health Systems 

Regional Health Systems is Northwest Indiana’s largest provider of community-based mental health care, primary health care and addiction treatment services. We offer adults and children—both uninsured and insured—integrated care through our community mental health center and federally qualified health clinic. Regional Health Systems is a member of the Regional Care Group.