MONROE COUNTY, Ind. - As the opioid epidemic continues, some county governments are considering training employees on how to respond if they witness an overdose.
The Monroe County Health Department administrator made recommendations to county commissioners this month about strategies to deal with drug addiction. She suggests offering naloxone training to all county employees. Naloxone is a drug that reverses the effects of an overdose.
"It does say a lot and it’s truly a need," said Penny Caudill, administrator at the Monroe County Health Department. "We want to save the lives of family and friends who may be dying."
She said training can involve something as quick as a "lunch and learn" event.
"Making sure that people that want to be trained have training," Caudill said about county employees. "Not necessarily making it mandatory."
The conversation about this began during a work session with county commissioners. Caudill said she set out on a fact-finding mission to learn about the community's needs. She followed up by making several recommendations for the commissioners to consider including starting to track 911 calls for overdoses and their locations.
"Then we can gauge if there’s a need to have [naloxone] more accessible in more buildings," she said.
According to Caudill, the Sheriff's Office, the clerk's office, employees at the health department and the probation department have already expressed interest about potentially having naloxone on hand in their buildings. An official at the probation department said they're open to exploring this because they have had people who are under the influence come into their office.
While the health department continues to gather more information on this, Caudill says they must be strategic so the naloxone goes to those who are most likely to use it.
"Having it sit in an office where it may not be used at all doesn’t seem to be right place," Caudill said. "There’s a balance there we need to try to find."
Ultimately, the commissioners will decide what naloxone policies to approve for county employees. Their decision is expected to take at least a few weeks.