Addiction Recovery in Southeast Ohio
Ohio’s Project DAWN ensures that everyone has access to the opiate antagonist Naloxone, commonly known as NARCAN, and provides Ohioans with a new outlook on addiction, recovery and rehabilitation.
Coordinated by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), Project DAWN is a program designed to educate individuals about opioid overdoses. The program also distributes Naloxone at no cost across the state and offers syringe service programs (SSPs).
Michaela Sumner, public information officer at ODH, says that many Ohioans and their families have been impacted by the opioid epidemic and that the program is designed to give them hope.
“Many Ohioans lose their own life, or the life of a loved one, to unintentional drug overdose every year,” Sumner says. “Having Naloxone available can reverse an overdose and give the person who overdosed the ability to enter into treatment and recovery.”
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Naloxone is a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose by attaching to opioid receptors in the human body, blocking the effects of the drug. If a person’s breathing has slowed or stopped due to an opioid overdose, Naloxone restores their breathing to a normal rate.
Naloxone was approved by the FDA in 1971 and has since been used by paramedics and hospitals to reverse opioid overdoses. The drug is available in two different forms, injection and nasal spray, which can be found at pharmacies throughout the state.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in nearly 40% of overdose deaths, someone else was present. Having Naloxone available allows bystanders to aid someone experiencing an overdose and potentially save their life.
Today, Project DAWN’s outreach has expanded to include over 380 Naloxone distribution sites across 77 of Ohio’s 88 counties. According to Sumner, preliminary data gathered by Project DAWN shows that in 2022, 198,000 free Naloxone kits were distributed and over 17,800 overdose reversals took place.
People with addictions can be left with little access to resources and support, but Project DAWN’s ultimate goal is to continue reaching underserved populations by providing harm reduction programs, education on substance use disorder and better access to Naloxone.