Governor Steve Beshear says the state is launching a pilot program to distribute some 2,000 Narcan rescue kits to Kentucky's three largest hospitals including St. Elizabeth Healthcare. Beshear says the goal is to save lives.
“Overdose patients will receive a kit free of charge when they leave the hospital so they or a loved one can prevent another overdose event and possibly save a life,” Beshear said.
Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway says this is just the beginning.
“The substance abuse treatment advisory committee hopes that we can soon expand this program to 17 more Kentucky hospitals and hospital systems,” says Conway.
It's estimated that 30 percent of addicts who are rescued from an overdose seek treatment. Transitions, which provides drug rehabilitation has been distributing Narcan kits for a few years and executive director Mac McArthur says it's a good start.
“It's a terrific idea and it sets a great example. It's not enough and it's only three hospital ER's to start with, but that sets a tremendous example and the attorney general said other hospitals are already asking for more," McArthur says.
The Center for Chemical Addictions Treatment distributes Narcan kits in areas where heroin use is rampant. CCAT's Jackie Davidson they'd like to see Kentucky do the same.
“I would like to see it go into the community that way for the people that don't ever make it to the hospital they might have a better chance if it's out in the community and if it's with family members and friends,” Davidson said.
It's hoped that this project will prompt Kentucky lawmakers to pass legislation that will provide more treatment beds for addicts, greater access to the drug Narcan and harsher penalties for predatory heroin traffickers.
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