DCCCA to expand Narcan distribution, substance use prevention resources throughout Kansas

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Lawrence-based nonprofit DCCCA will be able to expand distribution of a lifesaving opioid overdose reversal drug as part of a new collaboration.

DCCCA is partnering with Healthy Blue, a collaboration of health insurance companies, to expand access to naloxone, aka Narcan, throughout the state, according to a Friday news release from the organization.

“This collaboration aims to provide essential solutions to address substance use disorders in Kansas communities,” according to the release.

“DCCCA will receive $125,000 directed toward initiatives that increase access to substance use prevention resources and tools, expand Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training opportunities, and provide naloxone vending machines for opioid overdose response.”

Narcan, the FDA-approved, over-the-counter nasal treatment, blocks the effects of opiates on the brain and restores breathing. It’s effective against all opiates and opioids — heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone, and similar prescription and street drugs — although some overdoses may take multiple naloxone doses to reverse.

Chrissy Mayer, DCCCA’s chief community based services officer, said in the release that the collaboration aligns perfectly with the organization’s mission to promote health and wellness in communities.

“We are eager that our joint efforts will lead to meaningful improvements to combat opioid overdose and enhance mental health awareness,” Mayer said in the release.

Molly Adams / Lawrence Times Chrissy Mayer, DCCCA’s chief community based services officer, covered the steps to acquire, store and administer Narcan during a free training session on July 27, 2023.

The Douglas County Commission in May approved funding to purchase Narcan vending machines, as well as ONEbox kits that contain Narcan doses and a video on how to administer it. The plan was expected to cost about $59,000 out of the county’s opioid settlement funds.

Alex Wiebel, a spokesperson for DCCCA, said via email Friday that DCCCA is still in the process of getting the vending machines from a vendor.

“At last check they were still a few weeks out and hope to hear something soon,” Wiebel said. “… We have confirmed that the Lawrence Public Library will have a ONEbox soon and are just finalizing our agreement with them. We are outreaching with other locations for additional ONEbox units.”

Bryan Baier, president of Healthy Blue, said in the release that through the partnership with DCCCA, they are taking a proactive approach to address substance use disorders and mental health.

“By combining our resources and expertise, we aim to make a positive impact and provide the necessary tools to those who need them,” Baier said in the release.

Kansas residents and organizations can request a free Narcan kit from DCCCA and learn about how it works at this link. Kits come with a wallet-sized card that provides instructions on how to use them.

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Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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