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DOH-Marion is Providing Naloxone to Reduce Substance Abuse Deaths

By Florida Department of Health

November 21, 2022

 

Ocala, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health in Marion County (DOH-Marion) is announcing the availability of free naloxone nasal spray kits. This lifesaving medication, known commercially as Narcan, could reduce thousands of substance abuse deaths across the state.

Naloxone is available to people who use drugs, people with a history of drug use, others at risk of experiencing an overdose, as well as friends, family members, and others who may witness an overdose. A kit consists of two naloxone nasal sprays that are administered even without a health care professional present.

“Given the number of fatal overdoses experienced in our community, we at DOH-Marion are proud to be able to provide this free, lifesaving treatment to potential overdose victims,” said DOH-Marion Administrator Mark Lander. “Too many lives have been lost because of these substances, including fentanyl, and we must do all we can to prevent further tragedies in our community.”

Marion County Commissioner Kathy Bryant said, “It’s important that our community continues to be strong and supportive of ways to provide more efficient and enhanced treatment to those struggling with addiction. As someone who has experienced the loss of a loved one due to this epidemic, I understand the importance of having a readily available Narcan kit. It is one more step we can take to help reduce death by overdose here in Marion County.”

Naloxone is a medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, restoring breathing and consciousness within minutes of being administered to a person who has overdosed.

Naloxone can be administered by a bystander, including a non-healthcare professional, before emergency medical assistance becomes available. But it is not intended to substitute for professional medical care.

When an opioid overdose is suspected, individuals should call 911 immediately before administering naloxone.

Anyone requesting a naloxone kit from DOH-Marion must be at least 18 years old and be at risk of experiencing an opioid overdose, or be a caregiver who may witness an opioid overdose, or someone likely to experience or witness an opioid overdose.

Naloxone kits can be obtained from DOH-Marion at our main office, 1801 SE 32nd Ave., Ocala, and at our satellite clinic at 7055 SE 110th St. Rd., Belleview. DOH-Marion clients may request up to five kits.

Naloxone kits are free, and no appointment is necessary to obtain one. People receiving naloxone also are provided educational material, referrals, and connections for substance-abuse intervention.

Increasing access to naloxone is a critical component in battling the opioid epidemic, especially in rural areas or counties with limited access to health care. Providing naloxone through county health departments will increase support to individuals across the state dealing with substance use disorder and help prevent overdose deaths in Florida.

The Department is working with the Florida Department of Children and Families through the Overdose Prevention Program, or I Save FLwhich facilitates the distribution of naloxone kits to families, friends, and caregivers of those at risk for an opioid overdose. The I Save FL website provides information on finding naloxone in your community and resources on treatment, overdose education, and prevention.

This effort complements the Florida Department of Health’s HEROS (Helping Emergency Responders Obtain Support) program that provides free naloxone to emergency-response agencies.

This initiative is part of the state’s response to the overdose crisis. In October, Gov. Ron DeSantis launched the Coordinated Opioid Recovery (CORE) program — the first of its kind in the nation — to provide comprehensive and sustainable care to those affected by substance use disorder. Marion County was among the first 12 counties to receive CORE designation.

A public health and safety alert was issued by the Florida Department of Health on July 8, 2022, to ensure Floridians remain vigilant of the signs of overdose. Anyone can access print and digital educational materials to help Floridians identify symptoms of an overdose here. The public health and safety alert is here

Where is substance use disorder assistance available?

Many local entities are available to help individuals with substance use disorder. Marion County residents can call 352-266-4769 to speak with someone 24/7 to get connected to help. For an overview of what treatment may be available, visit findtreatment.gov.

For questions regarding potential overdoses and other drug-related exposures, Florida’s Poison Control Centers are a valuable resource to individuals throughout Florida, including emergency personnel.

Poison Control Centers are staffed by healthcare professionals who are specifically trained to treat drug overdoses or assess patients exposed to drugs of abuse. Medical toxicologists are available 24/7 for physician consultations. For poisoning questions or emergencies, call 1-800-222-1222. Visit the website at floridapoisoncontrol.org.

HEROS is a Florida Department of Health program that provides free naloxone to emergency-response agencies. All Florida first-responders can request free naloxone through this program. Since the program's inception in 2018, FDOH has distributed more than 455,000 doses to emergency-response agencies in Florida. More HEROS information is here.

If you or your organization are interested in obtaining or managing naloxone for the community, please visit I Save FL to find available resources through the Florida Department of Children and Families.

The Hope for Healing website is a tool for Floridians to access help for mental health and substance abuse. The Hope for Healing initiative focuses on helping Floridians find resources in challenging times through state and local partnerships using evidence-based best practices and addressing the stigma associated with seeking help. The site aggregates federal, state, local, private sector, faith-based, and non-profit resources. Learn more here.

Hope Florida - A Pathway to Prosperity utilizes “Care Navigators” to guide Floridians on an individualized path to prosperity. Care Navigators can help individuals identify their unique and immediate barriers to capital, develop long-term goals, and map out a strategic plan, including finding support for those with substance use disorders. The process focuses on community collaboration between the private sector, the faith-based community, nonprofits, and government entities to break down traditional community silos to maximize resources and uncover opportunities. Learn more here.

About the Florida Department of Health

The Department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @HealthyFla. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.