LEBANON — In 2021 in Indiana, 1,933 people died of drug overdoses.
With overdoses on the rise, recovery advocates are working to bring life-saving drugs to the masses.
Narcan, or Naloxone, is a drug that can reverse an opioid overdose. It saved the life of Bradley Kincaid, who is now nearly five years sober.
"In June of 2016, I was found unresponsive. They had to use Narcan twice on me. Luckily it brought me back. It was a blessing," Kincaid said.
Kincaid describes Narcan as a "second chance."
"I have a wife and kids, so knowing that I could be dead six years now, is a really scary thought," Kincaid said.
Michelle Standeford is working to give second chances to every Boone County resident who needs one. Emergency crews have already used Narcan on nine Boone County residents so far in 2022. They used it 79 times in 2021. But 20 people still died of overdoses in Boone County in 2021.
"I've felt the loss of addiction, and I believe that I don't want other parents to feel that. And I believe in these people," Standeford said.
She operates the first — and only — Naloxbox in Boone County. A Naloxbox is a box filled with Narcan.
Boone County's sits on East Superior Street in Lebanon, right by the sidewalk. Anyone can come by, grab what they need, and keep it handy in case a loved one overdoses.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are no negative side effects from Narcan for a person with no opiates in their system. The Naloxboxes are placed throughout Indiana by Overdose Lifeline.
"This is the key to saving lives, and it just makes a huge difference. Someone doesn't need to lose their lives or someone they care about," Justin Phillips, executive director of Overdose Lifeline, said.
But not everyone thinks it's a great idea to have these drugs so widely available.
Since announcing the box on Facebook, Standeford has received some hurtful comments. One reads: "I don't think we should be saving dopers for free."
"I just want the ugliness of addiction to stop. I want people to stop judging people in addiction because it's not a choice. It is a disease. And just be kind," Standeford said holding back tears.
Despite the few naysayers, the attention mostly paid off with hope for a brighter tomorrow.
"We've had three or four people reach out and say 'How do we help get more of these boxes in Boone County?'" Standeford said.
On Thursday, Standeford found the box empty and was happy to refill it.
"I feel like Michelle's a blessing to this county. That box over there probably saved a life as we speak. I think it's a true blessing," Kincaid said.
The Naloxbox can be found at 227 E. Superior St. in Lebanon. Anyone can come by anytime and take the Naloxone they need. Standeford asks that you not disturb the tenants living in the home.
If you or someone you know is dealing with a substance use-related emergency, call 911.
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.
Click here to learn more about substance use disorders.
Substance use disorder-related data from the state.