DES MOINES, Iowa — Since 2005, the number of opioid overdoses in Iowa has more than tripled. One state-wide organization is trying to change that by providing better access to Naloxone, an overdose reversing drug.
The Iowa Harm Reduction Coalition (IHRC) provided training to Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and State Auditor Rob Sand on how to safely administer Naloxone, therefore equipping them to potentially save a life.
“If you did this training and took a little time out of your day to do this once, you might actually be in a position to somebody’s brother, somebody’s son, somebody’s dad or mom,” said Sand.
According to the Iowa Department of Health, without insurance, a dose of Naloxone costs $150, which can greatly reduce its access to people who need it most. The IHRC gives everyone who completes a quick training session a free kit which includes three syringes and a three vial supply of Naloxone for free.
“We offer a 24/7 completely confidential and anonymous hotline, and so folks can call or text at any time they need services delivered. If they want supplies delivered, we can meet them at their home in their own community wherever they are,” said Tiffany Carter from IHRC.
According to IHRC, only about five percent of Naloxone is administered by first responders, which is why it is important for family members and friends to have it on hand. The coalition’s services is responsible for 2,000 reversed overdoses in the last three years.
“The big message here is to get help … It’s OK to ask for help and get over that stigma,” said Naig.
The IHRC has distribution sites located across the state in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, and Dubuque and stress that they can bring services to anyone in the state who calls the hotline number.
“It provides an option, especially when we aren’t in some of the areas where some of our rural folks live. It’s an opportunity for people to get supplies anonymously,” said Carter.
To contact their 24/7 hotline for a Naloxone supply or general support, call 319-214-0540.