Over 700 doses of Narcan will be distributed to first responder agencies in four Northern Kentucky counties. Gov. Matt Bevin and officials from insurance company Aetna will make the official announcement Wednesday morning at the Boone County Sherriff’s Training Center.
Aetna is donating the overdose antidote to first responders in Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties. Narcan is often sold under the generic name naloxone.
Chief Medical Officer Harold Paz says the donation is part of the work the insurance provider is doing to aid in the opioid epidemic. He says the company hopes to reduce the amount of opioids prescribed to its members by 50 percent over the next five years.
“We’ve seen a reduction in opioid prescriptions, with almost a 12 percent decrease with opioid prescriptions in 2017 compared to 2016 based on the data we have now,” Paz says.
But non-prescription opioids, like heroin, are a growing problem. The drug is increasingly mixed with fentanyl, which is sometimes used as an elephant tranquilizer.
According to the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, nearly half of the state’s overdose deaths last year were attributed to fentanyl — either alone or mixed with heroin.