Governor Mike DeWine (R) recently highlighted a new partnership between the RecoveryOhio initiative, the Ohio Department of Transportation, and the Ohio Department of Health’s Project DAWN – short for “Deaths Avoided With Naloxone” – to install Naloxone overdose treatment kits, known as “Naloxboxes,” at rest areas statewide.
[Above photo by the Ohio DOT]
Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a nasal spray that can be provided to someone suffering from an opioid overdose, blocking the deadly effects of opioids on the brain and restoring consciousness and breathing. It is harmless if it is given to a person not experiencing an opioid overdose, the governor’s office said.
More than 130 boxes with Naloxone are being installed at 65 rest areas statewide, said Ohio DOT, which noted that the common signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose include unresponsiveness, slow or no breathing, blue lips or fingernails, choking or coughing, cold or clammy skin, small pupils, and dizziness or disorientation.
“Increasing access to Naloxone is critical to combatting the opioid crisis and decreasing the number of overdose deaths in Ohio,” said the governor in a statement. “By placing Naloxboxes in rest areas across the state we are providing more opportunities to reverse the deadly effects of illicit opioids and providing opportunities for Ohioans to choose recovery.”
In 2022, unintentional drug overdoses in Ohio resulted in 4,915 deaths, according to the Ohio Department of Health. That is nearly four times greater than the 1,275 fatalities caused by motor vehicle crashes over the same period.
In 2014, Project DAWN distributed 2,894 Naloxone kits, which resulted in 190 known overdose reversals. In 2022, the number of kits distributed had grown to 205,584 and the known overdose reversals to 18,244.