Nonprofit: Chunk of opioid settlement funds should go toward life-saving treatment
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Substance abuse treatment centers are making their pitches to get funding help from hefty settlements with drug makers.
Earlier this week, the state announced it was poised to get $78 million as part opioid lawsuit settlements.
Among those seeking an infusion of cash: The Hawaii Health & Harm Reduction Center.
The group provides first responders with Narcan, a life-saving treatment for patients who overdose.
The Maui Police Department was the first to put the medicine in patrol units years ago. This past April, officers used two Narcan doses on the driver of an SUV who passed out in a shopping center parking lot.
A bottle of pills were found in the vehicle and officers believed he overdosed on oxycodone. The second dose of the medicine worked within two minutes.
In body camera footage, one of the officers is heard calling the results “amazing.”
But Narcan is expensive. At a pharmacy it can cost $75 per dose.
Heather Lusk, the executive director of the Harm Reduction Center, said distributing it to police, firefighters, paramedics and EMTs is not easy. Current funding streams could run out, especially as the opioid crisis worsens.
HHHRC has distributed more than 20,000 doses to the agencies, which have reported hundreds of lives saved.
Lusk hopes a portion of the state settlement will be allocated for Narcan.
“These dollars are some of the only ways that we can replenish,” Lusk said, adding the medicine only has a shelf life of about two years.
“A bunch of police department’s (supplies) are going to start expiring and we want to replace those with active doses.”
An advisory board will decide how the state’s money will be distributed.
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