NARCAN box installed at Ruffcut Ministries Friday afternoon

MITCHELL – After sadly losing her son to an overdose in April of 2021, Becky Smith has been an advocate for acquiring a NARCAN box for members of the Mitchell community to use anonymously. This effort now has done just that.

After working with the City of Mitchell and Ruffcut Ministries, a NARCAN box for the use of Opioid Overdose has been installed on the church building entrance located at 201 W Warren St.

Mayor J.D. England (left) with Brandon Bauer, Nathan King (right), and Becky Smith with the installed NARCAN box

“My doctor founded Safe Haven in French Lick and helped me go through the process of acquiring a NARCAN box for the City of Mitchell, through overdose lifeline,” said Smith. “This is, unfortunately, the only box here now in Mitchell, but we are hoping that with this box it will open the door for more to come in the future.”

Analysis of a national database of EMS events found that from 2012 to 2016, the rate of NARCAN/Naloxone administrations increased 75.1%, from 573.6 to 1004.4 per 100,000 EMS events, mirroring a 79.7% increase in the age-adjusted opioid mortality rate.

From the period of 1996 to 2014, the CDC estimates over 26,000 cases of opioid overdose have been reversed using the kits.

“This is the first step in fighting against the opioid epidemic,” Smith continued. “As a part of this box being available, I filled out the necessary paperwork and will maintain the supplies and ensure it remains well-stocked. I fill out a monthly report so that we can keep track of how many doses were used and to keep the supplies at a servable level.”

From 1999 to 2019, nearly 500,000 people died from an overdose involving any opioid, including prescription and illicit opioids, and data shows that Over 70% of drug overdose deaths in 2019 involved the use of an opioid.

“These were a much-needed thing in Mitchell. When I was a police officer, we didn’t have NARCAN in our vehicles and had to wait for EMS to arrive. Now that people can come over here and get this, we can save lives,” said Mitchell Mayor J.D. England. “All thanks goes to Becky and Nathan King for installing it here at Ruffcut Ministries. It met a need, and hopefully, it is taken advantage of.”

The new NARCAN box at Ruffcut Ministries at 201 W Warren St. in Mitchell

With this addition, many community members dealing with opioid addiction have the necessary defense when it comes to overdose. But even with this kit being installed, another way to fight addiction is talking it out with others.

“Ruffcut does a great job with their mentor program to help those dealing with addiction within Mitchell, in fact, all of our churches here in town do a great job with mentoring, which is greatly appreciated for our community,” England said. “This box is here for whoever needs it, and will allow those who use them or take the doses will remain anonymous.”

Smith said she has other churches that are interested in installing their own NARCAN boxes to better help fight against the fight against opioid addiction, and she will continue to advocate for more throughout the community.