COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Ohio State University is now partnering with the Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Board of Franklin County (ADAMH) to make naloxone readily available across campus.
ADAMH’s NaloxBox project began in late 2021 in response to rising fentanyl overdose deaths.
According to CEO of ADAMH, Erika Clark Jones, 2019 was the year with the most overdose deaths in Franklin County. The pandemic, however, did bring a surge in overdose deaths as 2020 took over as the highest year. Since then there’s been a small reduction the last two years, but the numbers are still higher than pre-pandemic levels.
“Having it in public spaces where several, about 30% of overdoses can occur, means anyone can respond, because it’s so easy to use and it’s so easy to save a life,” Jones said.
As of right now there are 167 NaloxBox rescue kits that have been installed across the community with plans for another 80 by the end of the year.
Adult Services Librarian with the Columbus Metropolitan Library, Jordan Espino-Arvizu, recently saved a life with the Narcan kit.
“I had just been speaking with him and he did overdose at a computer. He did pass out and we had determined he was turning blue, not responding to prompts and questions so we made the decision to call 911,” Espino-Arvizu said.
Espino-Arvizu said she administered one dose, waited about a minute, then administered another dose.
“Then about 30 seconds before the squad came, he began to breathe which was incredible to see. It was scary, but I was so glad to be able to help that person in the moment,” Espino-Arvizu said.
There are 28 locations across the OSU campus and the Wexner Medical Center where Narcan is readily available. Each kit contains two doses of naloxone in an easy-to-use nasal spray, a rescue breather, directions and a QR code that can be scanned to watch a quick video.
“You’re going to take one of the nasal sprays out, and then you’re going to get the person on their back if you can do so safely, or at least tilt their head back. Then you’re going to put the nozzle up their nose and press the plunger up,” said Dru Batte, a community health advocate.
Batte added that if a second dose needs to be administered, try to put it up the opposite nostril if it’s possible to do so safely. It’s important to remember that overdoses can happen anywhere at any time.
“Addiction does not discriminate, so this could happen anywhere, it could happen to anyone,” said Espino-Arvizu, “So, I think it’s very important and I think the awareness for all, even in affluent neighborhoods where we may not assume overdoses are happening just to remember that overdoses are everywhere.”
If it’s unclear whether someone is having an overdose or not, administering naloxone won’t harm them, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Putting these lifesaving overdose reversal medications throughout OSU’s campus can help save a life.
“OSU sees so many different kinds of people every day from seniors to various employees, to students. There are so many people on campus, and it means that anyone is available to save a life for anyone who is overdosing,” Jones said.
For a map of where you can find a NaloxBox, click here.