Ohio Turnpike service plazas to stock overdose reversal drug Naloxone
The Ohio Turnpike will provide Naloxone, a nasal spray used to reverse opioid overdoses, at 14 service plazas along the 241-mile toll road. Turnpike foremen and assistant foremen will also carry kits in their maintenance vehicles, the turnpike announced Wednesday.
Naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan, reverses overdoses caused by heroin, illicit fentanyl and prescription pain medications by blocking the effects of the drugs on the brain and restoring consciousness and breathing.
Common 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, according to the media release.
Last year, nearly four times as many people died in Ohio of drug overdoses than in car crashes, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
Emergency-access Naloxone cabinets will be installed at the service plazas as part of a partnership between the turnpike commission, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine's anti-opioid initiative RecoveryOhio and Project Dawn, an Ohio Department of Health program that distributes naloxone.
The turnpike installation is part of a push by the DeWine administration to expand access to naloxone, the release said.
“Ohio Turnpike employees and travelers who recognize that an individual requires medical assistance from an apparent opioid overdose or is accidentally exposed to an opioid, now have the wherewithal to locate and administer naloxone at our service plazas,” said Ferzan Ahmed, executive director of the turnpike commission.
Naloxone is harmless if given to a person who is not overdosing on opioids and is a non-controlled drug that has no potential for abuse, the release said.
Nearly 800 turnpike employees have taken an online course on how to recognize an opioid overdose and administer Naloxone, the turnpike said.