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Naloxone donation heads to schools, police, addiction centers

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State health officials are announcing a new donation of 2,000 units of a medicine that can fend off the effects of opioid overdose.

Those auto-injector kits called Evzio, which deliver the drug Naloxone, were donated by the Richmond, Virginia based manufacturer kaléo. They will be split among public high school nurses, police officers and addiction treatment centers in the coming weeks.

60 doses have already been handed out to school nurses, according to state Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. She says those nurses want to be prepared should an overdose occur, even though no cases have been reported.

“School nurses are becoming more aware that there are students in their schools that are using these opiates and are very concerned that they don’t have the tools necessary to revive an individual,” Rattay said.

The bulk of the Evzio injectors will go to addiction centers, who will hand out the medication to addicts themselves, as well as family members and friends.

“They have a stock on hand, but the goal is to really get [naloxone] out to individuals, so getting people trained and getting it in the hands of friends and family members so they can use it if needed,” Rattay said.

Only three police departments in the state – Middletown, New Castle County and Ocean View – have equipped officers with Naloxone. 

Evzio injects the drug automatically and has audible instructions included with the machine, but it runs about $500 per unit, according to Rattay, pegging the donation value at $1 million.

That cost, which has been rising exponentially as the drug has risen to prominence, is part of the reason local jurisdictions say they haven't added it to their kits. An alternative branded as Narcan, which is given to a patient through their nose, is cheaper, but can still strain budgets of smaller organizations.

Last year, 185 people died from suspected overdoses in Delaware, with 78 suspected overdose deaths reported through July this year.

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