WOOSTER, Ohio--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Kathryn Helmuth, M.D., Medical Director of the Wayne County Health Department, today accepted a donation of 192 Narcan (naloxone) kits from Aetna (NYSE: AET) and the Aetna Foundation to combat the ongoing opioid crisis in Wayne County.
Aetna’s donation is the first of its kind to a county in Ohio. The kits, valued at $15,000, will be distributed by the Wayne County Department of Health and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department to be utilized throughout Wayne County.
“Narcan saves lives,” said Dr. Helmuth. “Aetna’s donation will help our police departments continue to reduce the number of lives lost due to the opiate crisis in Wayne County.”
“Aetna is honored to combat the opioid epidemic in partnership with Wayne County. We hope that our donation will assist community members in an immediate need, so those struggling with opioid use disorder can get the longitudinal treatment they need for recovery,” said Robert Balchick, M.D., Aetna Medical Director. “These kits can, and do, save lives.”
The Ohio Department of Public Health reports that in 2016, unintentional drug overdoses caused the deaths of 4,050 Ohio residents, a 32.8 percent increase compared to 2015 when there were 3,050 overdose deaths. In Wayne County, there were 25 deaths in 2017 and 38 deaths in 2016 due to overdose.
“Tragically, we have lost eight residents in 2018 alone due to overdoses,” said Dr. Helmuth. “Having these additional life-saving resources will help prevent situations that could become deadly.”
Aetna is fighting the misuse and abuse of opioids with integrated pharmacy, behavioral health and medical programs. In June 2017, Aetna published its opioid strategy paper, which describes the company’s work to prevent misuse and abuse, intervene when an at-risk behavior is identified and supporting patients with access to evidence-based treatments.