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New Albany and Floyd County police to carry opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone

A box containing the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone
Wikimedia Commons
The New Albany Police and Floyd County Sheriff's departments will soon be carrying naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal drug.

The New Albany Police and Floyd County Sheriff’s departments are stepping up their efforts to combat opioid deaths by equipping officers with the overdose reversal drug naloxone.

This can be a crucial step in saving the life of a person suspected of an opioid overdose before emergency medical services arrive.

In New Albany, the initiative comes after months of collaboration with Hoosier Action, according to a news release from Mayor Jeff Gahan. Hoosier Action is an independent organization which works to improve the health and lives of Southern Indiana residents.

"The health and safety of our residents is our top priority," Gahan said in the release. "We believe that equipping our police officers with naloxone is an important step in our ongoing efforts to combat the opioid epidemic in our community. With proper training, our officers will be able to quickly and effectively save lives in the event of an overdose.”

Provisional data from the Indiana Department of Health shows there were more than 1,300 opioid deaths statewide in 2022.

The New Albany Fire Department was already equipped with the drug and will help train officers on its use.

In the release, New Albany Police Chief Todd Bailey said carrying naloxone will give officers the ability to save a life “in a matter of minutes" and that the department is "committed to doing everything in our power to prevent opioid-related deaths in our city.”

City department heads will also be trained in naloxone use.

The Floyd County Health Department is providing the medication to both the New Albany and Floyd County Sheriff’s departments.

The agencies join others that have implemented naloxone programs in recent years, including Indiana State Police and first responders in Charlestown, Clarksville and Jeffersonville.

Jeffersonville Police Assistant Chief Scott McVoy said officers with the department first started administering naloxone in 2017.

“They’ve saved a lot of lives in the last five plus years,” he said.

McVoy said the addition of community naloxone boxes outside businesses and organizations in recent years shows an increased awareness in the opioid issue.

Residents can get free naloxone at the health departments in Clark and Floyd counties. The Clark County Health Department requires a short training session to give the medication. There are also dispensers throughout the community, including outside the Clark Memorial Health emergency department.

The Floyd County Health Department said in a statement they’ve also partnered with Our Place Drug and Alcohol Services to place opioid rescue boxes around the community, which are accessible to anyone. They can be found at these locations:

  • St. Mark's United Church of Christ — 222 E. Spring St., New Albany
  • Floyd County Token Club — 506 Pearl St., New Albany
  • Pints and Union — 114 E. Market St., New Albany
  • The Hitching Post — 115 W. Market St., New Albany
  • Nomad Church Collective — 1423 E. Oak St., New Albany
  • Our Place Drug and Alcohol Education Services — 400 E. Spring St., New Albany
  • Floyd County Health Department — 1917 Bono Rd., New Albany
  • Sojourn Church—2023 Ekin Ave., New Albany
  • Floyd County Public Library — 180 W. Spring St., New Albany
  • Indiana University Southeast student lodges
  • Wesley Chapel UMC – 2100 Highway 150, Floyds Knobs
  • St. John’s United Presbyterian Church — 1307 E. Elm St., New Albany
  • Southern Indiana Homeless Coalition Office — 1218 E. Oak St., New Albany

Coverage of Southern Indiana is funded, in part, by Samtec, Inc. and the Hazel & Walter T. Bales Foundation.

Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.