Will be given free of charge to overdose patients
FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 24, 2015) — First Lady Jane Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway today announced that heroin/opiate overdose reversal kits will be purchased and made available to people treated for overdoses at University of Louisville Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health. The funding is provided through the Substance Abuse Treatment Advisory Committee (SATAC).
The hospitals in Kentucky with the highest rates of heroin overdose deaths are receiving funding for the kits. In 2013 UofL Hospital treated 588 people were for heroin overdoses. Once the project is up and running this spring overdose patients will receive a kit free of charge when they leave the hospital.
Gov. Steve Beshear created SATAC by executive order to oversee the KY Kids Recovery grant program and distribution of $32 million in settlement funds that Conway secured from two pharmaceutical companies. The judge required the settlement funds be used to expand treatment in Kentucky.
Naloxone, which is also known as Narcan, has no potential for abuse and immediately reverses the effects of a heroin overdose by physiologically blocking the effects of opiates. Currently, it is not covered by Medicaid or many private insurance companies, which means even if users receive a prescription they are unlikely to fill it because they cannot afford it. Naloxone is available in injectable or nasal mist forms. The nasal mist form must still be approved by the FDA. When approved, health experts believe most insurance companies and Medicaid will begin to cover the costs.
In 2013, 230 Kentuckians died from heroin overdoses. Final numbers for heroin overdoses in 2014 are not yet available, but the Office of Drug Control Policy estimates heroin was involved in 30 percent of all drug overdose deaths.