“Expanding the availability of naloxone to all offenders upon release from one of our correctional facilities is one way we can ensure these individuals a smooth transition back into the community as contributing members of society, forever removed from justice-involved settings,” said Dr. Kristen Dauss, IDOC Chief Medical Officer. “Substance use disorder is a disease, and IDOC plays a critical role in connecting people to the quality treatment they need.”
Naloxone, or Narcan, is a medication approved to reverse overdose by opioids. Naloxone is given when a person is showing signs of opioid overdose. It blocks the toxic effects of the overdose and is often the difference between a patient living and dying.
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, has provided 2,255 kits totaling over $84,000 to the IDOC for distribution to correctional facilities as needed. The organization has been on the front lines of the opioid epidemic since 2014.
Naloxone is a critical tool for individuals, families, first responders and communities to help reduce opioid overdose deaths.
During an offender’s pre-release medical screening, they are asked if they would like to leave with a free naloxone kit. The kit includes one dose of naloxone, instructions for use and a referral card for treatment.
“We want to make naloxone available to anyone who needs it without any barriers,” said Christine Daniel, IDOC Executive Director of Transitional Healthcare. “When an offender accepts a kit upon release, they can feel confident knowing they’ll face no punitive action or judgement.”
IDOC aims to replicate the naloxone program in each of Indiana’s 10 parole districts. Data will be collected over time to determine how many kits leave each facility.
“These efforts align with both the state and Overdose Lifeline’s goal of reducing the stigma surrounding substance use disorder,” Dauss said. “We want to provide this lifesaving medication that could possibly reverse an overdose and save someone’s life.”
A list of resources around naloxone may be found at the Indiana Department of Health website at optin.in.gov.