There's a new device that dispenses the opioid-reversing drug naloxone, and the University of Cincinnati professor who invented it plans to put it inside Cincinnati buildings this spring.
Claudia Rebola, graduate studies coordinator at UC's College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP), has worked with students to develop AntiOD. The dispensing device, which also includes gloves and a mask, will be installed in semi-public places with step-by-step instructions for bystanders.
Sixteen buildings including Cincinnati City Hall, the VA Medical Center and the Cincinnati Visitors and Convention Bureau have been identified as places that will carry AntiOD. The goal is to have a total of 36 buildings carry it. EMS data from the city shows most overdoses occurred in East Price Hill, Downtown, Over-the-Rhine and Westwood, as well as West Price Hill, Queensgate, Walnut Hills, Avondale, Clifton and Mt. Auburn.
Rebola has taken additional steps, such as creating an informational campaign to train the public on signs of an overdose; working with Downtown Cincinnati ambassadors, who may eventually carry AntiOD on patrols; and making training and messaging available via text through Cincinnati Bell.
With an estimated 50-80 overdoses in Cincinnati every week, Rebola says everyone should be concerned. "Our 911 is oversaturated to the point where it's becoming the new normal," Rebola says. "So I find value in this project. We are trying to empower bystanders to take a role in this crisis by educating them, by empowering them. Be a good citizen. We can do this together for a healthier Cincinnati."
Swati Chopra also worked on the project.
“We are trying to make AntiOD a three-step process where we are designing access, giving knowledge and creating the empowerment of how to go about it,” says Chopra, a second-year master of design degree student and graphic designer who works alongside team members Norberto Sanchez and Sebastian Ramirez.
In mid to late January, Hamilton County first responders saw a spike in overdoses. They say it's likely due to a change in the composition of illicit street drugs, including mixtures of opiates, fentanyl, carfentanil and other synthetic drugs.
Here are the latest overdose numbers.