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KOKOMO — A Kokomo mom who works to save the life of someone overdosing says she is shipping out more free kits due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some local police departments, like the Lawrence Police Department, have stopped administering the opioid reversal drug Nalaxone due to the pandemic.
Lawrence Police Department's Chief of Police David Hofman gave this statement to RTV6 in regards to Narcan suspension:
"We decided to temporarily suspend our practice of administering Narcan after thoughtful and cautious risk analysis. The type of up close and personal contact that officers have with citizens experiencing an overdose puts them in an extremely precarious position. Police officers will still respond to overdose runs, and they will gather information, render aid, and facilitate the arrival of medics who will be equipped in full PPE which includes gowns respirators protection and face shields. Often times when people wake up from a Narcan administration, they are coughing and sneezing and expelling microscopic particulate matter from their faces, and this is a deadly risk to our officers that had to be addressed. When this public health crisis passes, we will certainly reevaluate this decision and try to determine what is best for our officers our citizens and the community."
Antonia Sawyer wants all Hoosiers to always be prepared in the case of an overdose and offers free access to Naloxone training and overdose reversal kits, all without having to leave the house. She is mission is to help other Hoosiers save lives.
Her organization, Ship Happens, provides free life-saving medication that can be used to save someone from a fatal overdose.
"If you think it wont happen to you, then carry it for everybody else," Sawyer said. "We can not find recovery without life. Nalaxone really enables breath, and so if we want to continue to grow a recovery community, we need to make sure we are carrying this for everyone."
Sawyer is social distancing at home to limit the spread of COVID-19. Now, she says she is busier than ever.
In all of 2019, Ship Happens sent out about 280 overdose reversal kits. So far this year, she has shipped more than 260.
"Social distancing and self-isolation are risk factors for overdose," Sawyer said. "It is extremely important to always have Nalaxone on hand, but really during this pandemic. People who use drugs are extremely vulnerable to overdose."
It is very simple to get a Naloxone kit from Ship Happens.
If you are an Indiana resident, you can head to the Ship Happens Facebook page. There is a pinned video for you to watch at the top of the page, this video is the training in order for you to receive a kit.
Once finished, send Sawyer a message on the Facebook page and she will get your kit ordered from there, shipped directly to your home free of cost.
"If anyone wants a kit and they feel like they are being a burden," Sawyer said. "They are not, please do not reach out because you think you can save that for someone else. There are plenty of kits to go around. I do not want that to be a concern. Please take advantage of the program if you need a kit. I am more than happy to ship it out."
Each kit has three vials of Naloxone, three intramuscular syringes, a treatment referral, a quick guide for use and a copy of Aaron's Law.
The kits are a chance to get users on a path to recovery, giving them more life with loved ones.
"It is more making sure that I am a resource for other Naloxone distribution organizations that are having issues due to social distancing," Sawyer said. "And I want to make sure that I am available for them until they can reestablish their services or that I can provide outreach until this discontinues."
Ship Happens has and will continue to distribute these kits for free after the current health pandemic comes to an end.
You can order a free kit here.