MIAMI COUNTY — The Miami County Health Commissioner Dennis Propes visited the Miami County Board of Commissioners meeting Thursday afternoon where the commissioners asked about Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided with Naloxone), which has given out over 100 naloxone kits this year.
Through Project DAWN, Miami County Public Health (MCPH) educates the public on drug overdoses and supplies naloxone kits after teaching the recipients how to administer the naloxone. The naloxone kits, which are free to the program participants, are funded through a grant from the Ohio Department of Health.
Naloxone — also commonly known as Narcan — has only one function: to reverse the effects of opioids on the brain and respiratory system in order to prevent death. According to MCPH, naloxone has no potential for abuse. If naloxone is given to a person who is not experiencing an opioid overdose, it is harmless.
Since the beginning of the year, the department has distributed over 100 naloxone kits, and according to Propes, they have a goal to give out approximately 320 kits.
“It’s a prescription to that individual,” Propes said. MCPH can also give out refills of the naloxone kits, but they have not received any requests for refills yet. The people seeking refills do not have to go through the education session again. The expiration dates for the kits vary.
MCPH also supplies the Miami County Sheriff’s Department and also distributes kits to other Miami County agencies if they are in need.
“We’ve seen a decline this year. We don’t know if it’s just a blip in the radar or a trend. We hope it’s a trend,” Propes said. When asked if there were any possible federal grants coming down the pipeline to further address the heroin epidemic, Propes said that they are keeping a lookout for any as well as being prepared for any future health crisis.
“Working with the Heroin Coalition, we’re very cognizant of the fact that this issue could turn on a dime,” Propes said. “It’s quickly turning from a heroin issue to a fentanyl issue, and it could quickly turn back to a meth issue or another drug issue.”
Propes said that the department is focusing on those issues, “but we’re agile enough to be able to react to that changing environment as well.”
One of the other health consequences of the heroin epidemic is the rise of hepatitis C, also known as Hep C. “With the heroin issue, we’ve seen a huge rise in Hep C, and that’s a long-term health issue,” Propes said.
Propes explained that hepatitis C is treatable, but the treatments are expensive. Hepatitis C is a bloodborne virus that mainly attacks the liver and leads to inflammation. It can be spread through sharing needles.
Project DAWN kits are distributed by MCPH every Tuesday from noon to 1:30 p.m., or by appointment. Program participants must first receive education on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose, how to respond to the overdose by calling 911 and giving rescue breaths, and how to administer naloxone as a nasal spray.
At the conclusion of the 45-minute education session, participants receive a free kit containing two doses of naloxone nasal spray.
Propes’ visit was part of his initiative for the health department to visit all the municipalities under MCPH’s jurisdiction to make sure the department was meeting of the municipalities’ needs. The commissioners also commended the department.
“We really do appreciate you and your staff,” Commissioner Jack Evans said.
For more information about Project DAWN and naloxone kits, call (937) 573-3500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional addiction resources, visit www.miamicountyhealth.net.
Reach Sam Wildow at email@example.com or (937) 451-3336