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BIA and IHS announce partnership to address drug overdoses

A naloxone kit. Photo by Nabarun Dasgupta / Harm Reduction Coalition

The Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service are working together to address drug overdoses in Indian Country.

The BIA will equip 340 police officers with naloxone kits, Tristan Ahtone reports for Al Jazeera America. Naloxone can reverse the effects of overdoses from opiates like heroin and can prevent deaths.

"Law enforcement officers are usually the first responder to a drug overdose situation in a tribal community," BIA Director Mike Black said in a press release.

The IHS also plans to make naloxone available at 95 pharmacies. The agency has urged tribes to make the kits available at their facilities as well.

"IHS is working to ensure that tribal communities receive the fastest possible access to this life-saving medication in situations where every minute matters," said IHS Principal Deputy DIrector Robert G. McSwain.

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As part of his fiscal year 2017 budget request, President Barack Obama has proposed $1.1 billion to address prescription opioid abuse and heroin abuse across the nation, according to a fact sheet from the White House. The fact sheet includes the BIA and IHS partnership but doesn't list other initiatives aimed specifically at Indian Country.

Get the Story:
Can naloxone help end overdoses in Indian Country? (Al Jazeera America 2/17)

Related Stories:
White House heroin plan includes tribes devastated by drug (8/18)
Senate committee examines costs of substance abuse on tribes (7/30)

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