Statement from the Indiana Recovery Alliance.
Local harm reduction project reports 500 potentially fatal overdoses reversed
Bloomington, IN –
On Friday February, 10th, the Indiana Recovery Alliance harm reduction project reported its 500th overdose reversal. The vast majority of these reversals were reported by people who use drugs and their loved ones. Others were reported by first responders across six counties who received their training and supplies from the Alliance. The Indiana Recovery Alliance began distributing the life-saving opiate overdose reversal in September 2015 and has given out over 5000 doses throughout Indiana.
The data was collected as participants in the program voluntarily report when they use the Naloxone, as well as if the overdose was successfully reversed. Of over 500 overdose reversals, only one fatality was reported.
This milestone comes in the midst of increased overdoses over the last few days begin reported both by people who use drugs and first responders. And Bloomington is not alone. Drug overdose is the number one cause of accidental death in adults, having surpassed car accidents. Nationwide, every 20 minutes a person fatally overdoses. Overdoses in Monroe County have increased by 500% since 2012, according to Bloomington Hospital and the Monroe County Health Department.
The Indiana Recovery Alliance offers training and distribution of free naloxone to community members during outreach hours, 7 days a week. Hours and locations are listed at indianarecoveryalliance.org. Naloxone is also available without a prescription for purchase at pharmacies.
In response to those who see Harm Reduction as enabling, project director Christopher Abert stated “We do enable people. We enable people to breath. We enable people to not die of infectious disease. We enable our safety for the entire community. This is no time for moral condemnation or political posturing about drug use. We’re in the midst of a syndemic of HIV, Hepatitis C and overdose, and we need to make sure people stay alive and disease free as we implement alternatives to incarceration, stigmatization and criminalization. Dead people never recover. Until we have a multitude of on-demand treatment options available and legislation passed to decriminalize this public health issue, we will work tirelessly to, at minimum, keep people alive and disease free.”