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(SOUTH BEND, Ind.) – Indiana is installing anti-overdose drug dispensers.

For the last few years, police and paramedics have been equipped with naloxone, trade-named Narcan, a drug which can reverse the potentially fatal effects of an opioid overdose. Narcan kits will now be available to the general public, with a free vending machine at the jail in South Bend.

Richmond and Jasper will follow, and the state plans to use $73,000 in federal grants to install 16 more dispensers around the state.

St. Joseph County Sheriff Bill Redman estimates his deputies have saved 10 or 20 lives a year the last couple of years. But he says some people know they have a drug problem, or have a loved one who does. He says the minutes saved by having Narcan on hand, instead of waiting for police to respond to a 911 call, may be critical.

The machine is in the lobby of the county jail. That makes it accessible 24/7, no questions asked. Redman says it also means it’s readily available when inmates are released. He says the first couple of weeks out of jail hold the most danger of overdosing.

Indiana overdose deaths rose by one-third in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.