MUNCIE, Ind. — Indiana health officials are sending 600 overdose antidote kits to Delaware County where overdoses from fentanyl and other opioids have killed 65 people since the start of 2015.
Coroner Scott Hahn says Delaware County has seen eight summer cases in which fentanyl caused or contributed to deaths. The Star Press (http://tspne.ws/2c8goLG ) reports that other pain-relieving opioid drugs that have been involved in 42 fatal overdoses in Delaware County last year and 23 so far this year.
“Fentanyl is good for cancer patients who are in a lot of pain, but they usually use it like a time-released patch,” Hahn said. “We’re finding people who chewed or injected those patches. We have found them still in a person’s mouth where they had been chewing on them.”
The state health department has awarded nearly $150,000 worth of opioid overdose rescue kits to health departments in 20 counties, including Delaware.
Local health administrator Jammie Bane sees the rescue kits as an opportunity to save lives, not as evidence that it condones the abuse of prescription or illegal drugs.
“Drug overdoses not only result in the death and loss of an individual, there is also an enormous fallout for family and friends, not to mention the burden on taxpayers,” Bane said. “Where this program is allowing us to get naloxone into the community for free, an overdose death can result in tens of thousands of dollars in cost ultimately borne by the family, medical system and taxpayers.”
The coroner says an autopsy and toxicology screen for an opioid death costs the county about $2,000.
Bane’s department will notify the public after it finalizes details of how and to whom the rescue kits will be distributed.
Information from: The Star Press, http://www.thestarpress.com