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Kansas has seen more than 10,000 suspected overdoses this year

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Rachel Mipro

(Kansas Reflector) As opioid overdoses in Kansas show no sign of slowing down, officials have unrolled new funding to tackle school-level prevention initiatives and stock more homes with emergency overdose treatments. 

The Kansas Fights Addiction Grant Review Board has given a substance abuse treatment organization $594,519 for use in three projects throughout the state.

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The organization, DCCA, will use the funds to implement a Douglas County school-based prevention program, distribute naloxone in Johnson, Shawnee and Wyandotte counties and increase men’s residential and outpatient treatment services. Naloxone is medication that can be used to quickly reduce or reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

 “This is a wonderful way for us to expand our prevention resources and address substance use disorders,” DCCCA Chief Community Based Services Officer Chrissy Mayer said. “These projects will engage community partners across the state to help create healthy environments for those we serve.”

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The initiative will bring 400 naloxone kits to addiction recovery group homes, as well as install a naloxone vending machine in Wyandotte County. The other project will focus on Wichita, expanding DCCCA’s service list for men’s treatment.

Funds come from the state’s settlements with pharmaceutical companies, pharmaceutical distributors and related companies. The settlements have resulted in approximately $340 million over the next 18 years for preventing and treating opioid addiction. Sunflower Foundation, a statewide health philanthropy based in Topeka, administers the grant program.

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As of Oct. 31, there were 10,280 suspected overdoses documented so far this year, according to public health analyst DJ Gering. Naloxone was administered in approximately 1,614 of these cases, Gering said in a Nov. 3 presentation to board members. 

“There’s not an area of Kansas that’s not really touched by an overdose,” Gering said.

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