Douglas County leaders approve $60,000 request from DCCCA to expand local naloxone access; plan calls for distribution of more than 1,000 kits
photo by: Rochelle Valverde
There will soon be a lot more of the lifesaving overdose drug naloxone available in Douglas County.
After being asked to come back with a more fleshed-out plan back in April, social safety net agency DCCCA returned to the Douglas County Commission Wednesday with a revised request for funding to support the nonprofit’s plans to improve community access to the drug, often referred to by its brand name, Narcan. This time, commissioners voted in favor of approving DCCCA’s funding request for $58,826.25.
“I appreciate the clarity that you provided in this proposal, including the dollar amount,” Commissioner Patrick Kelly said Wednesday. “I look forward to hearing how it’s going, but I also respect the work that DCCCA does in this space and what might be best.”
The three strategies outlined in DCCCA’s plan should allow for the distribution of 1,140 naloxone kits at various access points throughout the county in the next year.
The agency explained how those strategies might look in its earlier presentation to county leaders. For one, it plans to purchase “ONEbox” units — boxes outfitted with an opioid reversal kit and an instructional video for how to administer them — and place them in public locations that anyone can access in the event of an overdose emergency. Last month, DCCCA suggested those boxes could end up being located at Lawrence, Eudora and Baldwin City’s public libraries and on each block of downtown Lawrence, and the updated plan now includes those three cities’ recreation centers in its list of potential locations.
The plan also calls for naloxone distribution through a second strategy — in a specialized vending machine. That unit would be able to hold 150 kits at once, which folks can access by entering a zip code. The machine can send notifications to DCCCA as its supply is depleted, and the agency plans to reload the machine every quarter for a total of 600 kits.
It’ll be placed in a yet-to-be-determined location in Lawrence. Chrissy Mayer, DCCCA’s chief community-based services officer, told commissioners that a vending machine might not be available to purchase for a couple of months, but the ONEbox units could be purchased as soon as possible. She said the vending machine should be available by early September at the latest.
DCCCA also plans to offer targeted distribution during two events, one in Lawrence in September and another outside of Lawrence sometime this fall. The agency is planning to distribute approximately 210 kits per event.
In other business, commissioners:
• Deferred taking any action on a request from Behavioral Health Partners Inc. to reimburse LMH Health and Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center more than $1.2 million combined in startup and development costs related to opening the Treatment and Recovery Center of Douglas County.
County staff didn’t indicate if or when that item might appear again on a future commission agenda.
• Heard presentations from the Lawrence Chamber and Economic Development Corporation about economic development and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office about staffing and retention.
• Agreed to a recommended financing model for the county’s Emergency Communications Center.
That model would see the county cover a third of the base cost to provide emergency services. Lawrence, Baldwin City and Eudora would foot the remaining two-thirds of the bill proportional to their populations.
• Approved one temporary business use permit and deferred another, both for “laydown yards,” areas on a construction site where tools, materials, equipment and vehicles may be stored temporarily when not in use.
The approved request, submitted by Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline to be used while constructing a natural gas pipeline, is for a property just across the Kansas River north of Lawrence. The request that was deferred was from Evergy, for a property near Big Springs, and meant to be used as the company rebuilds a transmission line.