Whitley County residents can receive free Naloxone and training on how and when to use it during a program that will be offered at the Whitley County Health Department next month.
Public Health Director Martha Steele told the Whitley County Board of Health during its quarterly meeting Monday that the Kentucky Department of Public Health and the Kentucky Pharmacist Association would be providing the free training on Dec. 1 from 1 – 4 p.m. at the Whitley County Health Department in Williamsburg.
Naloxone, which is also known as Narcan, is an injectable drug used to reverse the effects of a drug overdose.
Steele said that the training would take about 10 minutes to complete.
She said that a lot of times relatives of drug abusers will worry about the drug abuser overdosing and get Naloxone in the event of the abuser overdosing but not necessarily know how to use it properly.
Anyone can attend the meeting. During the training, the health department will be offering free Hepatitis C and HIV testing.
One of the board members asked how much a dose of Naloxone cost.
Cynthia Rice, administrative services manager, said that the health department used grant money earlier this year to purchases 85 doses of Naloxone for Whitley County EMS at a cost of $4,000, but this was purchasing it at a bulk rate.
Steele said she knows of one person with a prescription for Naloxone, who couldn’t afford to fill it because it was going to cost about $100.
Steele noted that on average Whitley County EMS uses Naloxone twice every 24 hours.
Prior to the public training on Dec. 1, there will be one at the Corbin Fire Department to teach firefighters how to administer the drug.
During Monday’s meeting, the board also received an update on the health department’s needle exchange program.
Public Health Supervisor Tamara Phelps told the board that through the first 45 weeks of the program, there had been 299 participants, who made 1,071 visits.
So far during the month of November, the needle exchange has taken in 1,458 used needles and given out 1,447 clean needles.
She noted these numbers are slightly skewed because one of the exchange dates took place on a different day than it is normally held, which usually decreases participation especially for new participants.
Officials said 10 clients have told the needle exchange staff that they have been to rehab and are injecting less but have not stopped injecting all together.
Officials said that a two-year, $75,000 grant application has been filed that would provide funding to cover needle exchange staff salaries, the cost of the needles, and to have a counselor on hand during the needle exchange.
In addition, the board of health accepted the 2016-2017 audit from Phillips & Phillips CPA, and the annual financial report by Rice and financial adviser Ken Fiser during Monday’s meeting.
Charlie Phillips told the board that the health department finished the fiscal year with a fund balance of $2,139,000, including $1,490,000 in unrestricted funds.
During the 2016-2017 fiscal year, which ended on June 30, the health department had revenues of $6,571,000 and had expenditures of $5,953,000.
Phillips said the audit found no instances of material weakness or non-compliance, and that there were no audit comments.
Rice said that as of Oct. 31, the health department had $2.3 million in the bank and had a $1,052,657 revenue surplus compared to a $27,000 deficit at this time last year.
Between July 1 and Oct. 31, the health department accumulated $7,846 in interest income at a rate of 1 percent.
Board member Paul Rains urged health department staff to check with local financial institutions because the Federal Reserve is expected to increase rates by 0.25 percent in the near future.
In addition, the board voted to give all 58 employees a $300 Christmas bonus, which will cost the health department $17,400.
In other business Monday, the board of health scheduled its 2018 meetings, which are set for March 19 and Sept. 17 in Williamsburg, and June 18 and Nov. 19 in Corbin.