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Cuyahoga County Buying More Heroine-Overdose Medication

Cuyahoga County’s addiction and mental health board is redoubling its efforts to distribute a life-saving antidote that treats heroin overdoses. The board is putting $100,000 toward buying another round of the medication.

Since 2013, doctors with MetroHealth Medical Center have been training people to administer the drug naloxone to heroin users who have overdosed. Doctors distribute naloxone nasal spray to users, people in recovery, and to people whose friends or family are addicted.

The grant will allow Metro Health to buy 2,000 more naloxone kits. Dr. Joan Papp directs the program, known as Project DAWN.

“The need is far greater than the resources that we have available to us. This is more than double what we have been able to provide over the last year,” she said.

Papp says the program so far has reversed 108 overdoses. And the county estimates the rate of growth in heroin deaths slowed last year. Still, the price of the antidote has jumped, with increasing demand.

MetroHealth CEO Dr. Akram Boutros estimates this new supply of naloxone should give the county 12 to 15 months before officials will have to find another source of funding.

The Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services, also known as ADAMHS, purchased more than 400 kits last year for the Dayton Police Department.