One less death from opioid overdose means one more opportunity to break free of addiction.

This is a truth that Kaleb Lane knows well. The peer recovery group for public health organization Upstream Prevention is in recovery himself. But he never would have reached that point and broken free from substance misuse without another chance.

Naloxone, a medication used to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses, gave him that chance.

“Naloxone saved my life on more than one occasion. I wouldn’t be here if not for it,” Lane said. “A lot of my family didn’t know about it. You don’t know about something until you know. Getting that information out to people is so important.”

As overdose deaths continue to plague Johnson County and the country in general, the community had banded together to add a powerful tool to save lives. Upstream Prevention has spearheaded the addition of 14 NaloxBoxes throughout the county.

The boxes contain doses of the medication naloxone, which reverses the effects of opioid overdose. Accessible to the public, people can also find strips to test drugs for fentanyl, a powerful opioid increasingly responsible for overdose deaths, as well as information about treatment and recovery resources.

The campaign to add the boxes will remove stigma about addiction and substance misuse, and help prevent people dying.

“Recovery is possible, but it’s only possible if we keep people alive. Then that focus becomes how do we reduce harm, keep them alive so they can seek out that recovery path when they’re ready,” said Kathleen Ratliff, executive director at Upstream Prevention.

On Aug. 27, people came together in downtown Edinburgh for the annual Turn the Town Purple event. They brought signs, t-shirts and other mementos, memorializing loved ones and friends who had died from overdose.

They marched through town, heard testimonials from others in recovery, and released paper lanterns at dusk. While the event was designed to be healing for those gathered, it was also a chance to bring awareness to the impact overdoes has on the community and ways to prevent it.

A prominent aspect was Upstream Prevention’s booth providing training, information and distribution about naloxone.

In the struggle to reduce overdose deaths from opioids, naloxone has proven to be an incredibly effective tool. Also known by the brand name Narcan, the medication is an opiate antidote that reverses an opioid overdose.

When a person ingests a toxic amount of opioids such as heroin or prescription pills such as OxyContin, Percocet or Vicodin, their central nervous system and respiration system is depressed and breathing slows down or stops. Naloxone attaches itself to opioid receptors in the nervous system, blocks the effects of opioids and reverses the effects of an overdose.

Use of the medication in Indiana has increased every year since 2017, from 7,878 administered doses that year to 20,572 in 2021. Johnson County reported 1,378 instances of naloxone use over the same time period. So far this year, the county has reported 226 administrations of the medication.

Advocates have increasingly focused on increasing access to the medication. NaloxBoxes have proven to be an effective way to do that.

“In a perfect world, no one would use illicit drugs, but in reality that does happen,” said Erica Ratz, program coordinator for Upstream Prevention. “We want to have this as a harm reduction tool because we believe that every person matters. If we can have naloxone out there to keep people alive, they have a chance to seek treatment and reach recovery.”

Johnson County had its first NaloxBox installed in downtown Edinburgh in April, followed by and since then, more have been added throughout the county. The installation by Upstream Prevention, and a network of supporters throughout the community, represents a major increase in that effort.

Upstream Prevention, an organization that aims to support positive mental health, decrease suicides and address substance abuse in Johnson County, received a grant from the Indiana Department of Health to focus on naloxone. The grant from the IN CARES ECHO program is given to local communities in Indiana that are experiencing high rates of substance use disorder and opioid-related overdose to enact community-based solutions.

Part of the funding has allowed the staff at Upstream Prevention to partner with local organizations to offer naloxone administration training for the community. The grant, along with funding from the Duke Energy Foundation, also provided money for NaloxBoxes.

“We had noticed by working with the coroner that we’d seen increases in overdose deaths in the county, and how important it would be to have naloxone on hand as a harm reduction tool that would be available to the public for free,” Ratz said.

The boxes and naloxone were provided by Overdose Lifeline, a nonprofit organization that helps people affected by addiction and substance use disorder. The group focuses on advocacy, education, harm reduction, prevention and support, with naloxone initiatives being a significant part of their work.

Upstream Prevention officials worked with the county commissioners, county health department, the Johnson County Public Library and others to have boxes put in from the Center Grove area to Trafalgar to Greenwood and Franklin.

A box was installed at each branch of the library, at the county courthouse and its annexes, and at Johnson County Community Corrections and juvenile detention.

Boxes were also installed at the Hilltop Motel south of Franklin, Quality Inn in Franklin and HeavenEarth Church in Whiteland.

“We’re trying to get them gradually spread throughout the county so no one is too far from a box,” Ratz said. “We hopefully can save some lives, and also get the word out in the community to reduce that stigma around addiction, to get people to understand that addiction is actually a disease.”



What: Upstream Prevention, with the help of Indiana Department of Health, Duke Energy Foundation and Overdose Lifeline, has installed 14 NaloxBoxes throughout Johnson County. The boxes are stocked with the medication naloxone, which can reverse an opioid overdose, as well as with instructions and resources for recovery.

Boxes are located at the following places:

Johnson County Public Library, White River branch, 1664 Library Blvd., Greenwood

Johnson County Public Library, Clark Pleasant branch, 350 Clearwater Blvd., Whiteland

Johnson County Public Library, Trafalgar branch, 424 S. Tower St.

Johnson County Public Library, Franklin branch, 401 State St.

Johnson County Public Library services center, 49 E. Monroe St., Franklin

Hilltop Motel, 5351 S. U.S. 31, Franklin (In lobby, on west wall)

Quality Inn, 150 Lovers Lane, Franklin (By vending machine in lobby)

Johnson County Community Corrections, 1071 Hospital Road, Franklin (Behind the receptionist desk. Public will have to ask for naloxone and information.)

Johnson County Juvenile Detention/Probation, 1121 Hospital Road, Franklin (Box is on the detention side, by the bathrooms)

Johnson County Museum of History, 135 N. Main St., Franklin (Box is behind the receptionist’s desk)

Johnson County Court House, 18 W. Jefferson St., Franklin (In the basement, left at the elevator)

Johnson County West Annex, 86 W. Court St., Franklin (Behind where security sits, in the main entrance)

Johnson County Adult Probation (East Annex), 101 E. Jefferson St., Franklin (Behind where the sheriff deputy/security sits. Public will have to ask for naloxone and information.)

HeavenEarth Church, 309 E. Main St., Whiteland

Downtown Edinburgh, 105 S. Holland St.

Johnson County Salvation Army, 325 Market Plaza, Greenwood

Information: or