NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) -- The Floyd County Health Department hopes free Narcan kits will help tackle an increasing opioid epidemic.

The department received a state grant that allows it to dispense the kits free of charge to the public. Each kit can assist in reversing an opioid overdose.

People of all geographic areas can get one kit at a time from the department with no questions asked. Dr. Tom Harris, the Floyd County health officer, said he thinks the kits will assist in bringing down the overdose death numbers. In 2016, Floyd County saw a total of 17 overdose deaths, and in 2017, that number doubled to 34.

"This is simply a first aid measure for an acute overdose, but it allows a person a second chance that could have had a fatal outcome otherwise," Harris said. "But it allows them a second chance to get the treatment that can be effective."

Harris said the people he expects to get the kits will be addicts and families of addicts.

"This is basically the start of the chain of survival," Harris said. "The person overdoses, a family member, a loved one, you know no injection is involved, you just put it in their nose and inject it. "Then, you call 911. Then, the professionals show up, and we start the treatment process from there."

However, MeriBeth Adams-Wolf with Our Place Drug and Alcohol Education Services said Narcan can not be the stopping point.

"Narcan is another tool in the toolbox, especially when we look at this issue with the opioid crisis," Adams-Wolf said. "We try to put as many tools in the toolbox as possible. We also have to look at the other tools to get to these folks so they can stop the cycle, so that they can opt out for help and so they know where the resources are for them to get help."

Along with each kit, Harris said the person will receive a video explaining how to use it and information and numbers for other services including in-patient and out-patient treatment and detoxification.

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