CLEVELAND — New steps are being taken to stop opioid overdose deaths in Cuyahoga County. The MetroHealth System, along with the Cuyahoga County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board are partnering to stop the increasing trend of opioid overdoses.
One-hundred NaloxBoxes will be going up in an effort to bring down the number of fatal opioid overdoses countywide.
Inside the boxes are two doses of the lifesaving opioid reversal drug.
“We are putting them in public and private areas. The first 25 locations were identified based on highest need,” said Aubrey Montgomery, MetroHealth Office of Opioid Safety.
The NaloxBoxes are modeled after AED defibrillators located in public buildings. One of those locations is a permanent supportive housing building on West 25th Street. Jennifer Harrison with Frontline Services believes the NaloxBoxes will save lives. “Naloxone needs to be readily available in the moment,” said Harrison.
So far, about 15 of the boxes have been installed at several locations, including some public buildings, hunger centers, homeless shelters, rehabilitation centers as well as other places.
Sara Szelagowski is the founder of Project White Butterfly, an organization which goes into neighborhoods equipped with naloxone.
“I think we definitely need more Narcan. In our outreach we’ve done in the last couple of months, we met people who didn’t even know they could carry Narcan,” Szelagowski said.
“The opioid epidemic has continued to rage through the COVID pandemic, and in many ways has gotten worse,” said Dr. Joan Papp, director of MetroHealth’s Office of Opioid Safety. “Making naloxone easily available in the community will save lives. Anyone can turn their life around with treatment but first, they have to survive their overdose.”
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