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Kokomo community reacts to string of overdoses over MLK weekend

Overdose Deaths
Posted at 10:52 PM, Jan 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-19 11:20:50-05

KOKOMO — Police say there were about a dozen overdoses in Howard County over the MLK holiday weekend.

The Kokomo Police Department received multiple calls about overdoses from Jan. 13 to Jan. 16.

“People don’t think that this can happen to them and it can. It’s affected a lot of families who never dreamed that addiction would affect their families," Kokomo Police Capt. Scott Purtee said.

Purtee says those calls led investigators to search a home at the 3800 block of Alameda Boulevard early Tuesday.

Investigators found 14.1 grams of methamphetamine, 49 grams of marijuana, 34 Gabapentin pills, 132 miscellaneous pills, and $306 cash.

Police arrested two suspects.

Kokomo PD is still waiting for toxicology results to confirm what caused the overdoses. It is unknown at this time if any of the people who overdosed died.

“Anytime where we see overdoses, it’s discouraging, it’s upsetting. Our hearts certainly go out to the families," Turning Point - System Of Care CEO Matt Oliver said.

Turning Point is a recovery community organization that offers a broad range of clinical treatment and support services for individuals and families struggling with substance use and mental health challenges.

“When we have people that are using drugs, there’s medications out there that can be safely administered to anyone — it’s called Narcan," Oliver said.

Last month, the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library unveiled its first Naloxone Vending Machine — which helps provide quicker access to the life-saving medication.

“Obviously, as the word gets out, and more people are aware of the locations, we do have more people using it. We also have been pushing a lot of community awareness and community education," Recovery Excellence Institute Director Jen Cauthern said.

So far, the vending machine distributes an average of 120 naloxone kits each week.

In the first 18 days of the new year, 397 kits have been distributed from the vending machine and seven naloxboxes across Howard County.

Those locations are:

  • Downtown Main Library Branch
  • South Library Branch
  • Russiaville Library
  • Bridgeway Church
  • Excel Center
  • Turning Point Main Campus
  • Turning Point Reach Campus

Cauthern says one of the biggest ways you can help combat overdose deaths in your community is by being knowledgeable and equipped with Narcan.

“It gives someone a second chance at their life and ultimately going into treatment and having recovery," she said.

The overdose cases are still active and under investigation.

Anyone with additional information regarding these cases, or the sale of illegal drugs, is asked to contact the Kokomo Police Department at 765-457-1105 or (765) 456-7017.

You can also call Central Indiana Crime Stoppers at 1-800-262-TIPS with your anonymous tip.

You can always report tips anonymously by downloading the “Kokomo PD” mobile app from the iOS or Google Play stores.

You can also text a tip to us by texting TIPKPD, then a space, followed by your tip. Those texts can be sent to 847411.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, WRTV wants to help you get the resources you need.

For more information on a recovery organization near you, you can visit the Indiana Recovery Network website.

You can call 211 for help 24/7 in Indiana.

You can call the Indiana Addiction Hotline at 1-800-622-HELP (4357).

To find where you can get Naloxone near you, click here.

To learn more about NaloxBoxes, click here.

To view more resources from NextLevel Recovery Indiana, click here to visit its website.

To get naloxone, fentanyl test strips or learn about other resources, you can go to OverdoseLifeline.