Indianapolis first responders distributing more naloxone

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Naloxone is a drug saving Hoosiers after they overdose, and first responders in Indianapolis are using it in record numbers.

Indianapolis firefighters, police and EMS workers are all equipped with naloxone. It's a drug that reverses the effects of an overdose.

In 2014, all three agencies used 1,061 doses of naloxone. In 2017, it more than doubled to 2,170. In some cases now, IEMS said it takes more than one dose to wake someone up.

"Unfortunately we have gotten really good at treating it because we are seeing it so often," said Dr. Daniel O'Donnell, Medical Director for IEMS.

The numbers are slightly down this year but Dr. O'Donnell said that doesn't necessarily mean the problem is going away. He said it might be because more people have access to naloxone. Hoosiers can now get it at select pharmacies.

"We will go on overdose runs and they will already give them a dose of Narcan and they just haven’t woken up yet and call 911," he said.

Each dose costs about $25. IEMS pays it through a grant and last year, it cost at least $54,000 to administer naloxone in the city.

There have been 146 overdose deaths in Marion County as of the end of May 2018, according to the Marion County Coroner's Office. In 2017, there were 385 overdose deaths. That is up from 2016, when there were 331 overdose deaths in Marion County.