Largest online program in United States
From 0 to 10,000 kits annually in four years
Harm Reduction Ohio’s very first online order for naloxone arrived February 14, 2019. It thrilled us. We jumped around in excitement. Our second order came in February 20, 2019. The third arrived six days after that.
We had no idea what was on the way.
Today, three and a half years later, Harm Reduction Ohio runs the largest online naloxone distributor in the United States. Our naloxone, shipped from a couple of small offices above a coffee shop, have reversed thousands of overdoses in Ohio.
When we started, we had only intramuscular naloxone to give away. It was donated by the Chicago Recovery Alliance, a harm reduction group that pioneered providing naloxone to lay persons. Our legal authority to distribute naloxone, a prescription drug, at the time? Well, technically, we didn’t have it. You might say, technically, we were an illegal naloxone program. But we had a fearless commitment to saving the lives of the beautiful people who use drugs.
Saving lives was and is our central mission, then and now. But a lot has changed.
From then to now
Today, Harm Reduction Ohio is part of a harm reduction establishment that didn’t exist in Ohio when we started. How fast have things changed?
Harm Reduction Ohio’s Facebook page was created in February 2017. We opened a bank account with $500 in March 2018. We got tax-exempt status in April 2018. We gave out our first (illegal) naloxone kit in May 2018. (HRO volunteer Taylor Bennett, who now lives in Kentucky, started our naloxone program.)
Harm Reduction Ohio founder Dennis Cauchon and NEXT Distro founder Jamie Favaro talked on the phone in December 2018. NEXT Distro had started an online naloxone processing service based in New York City and was looking for state affiliates. After a 20-minute conversation, Harm Reduction Ohio became NEXT Distro’s Ohio affiliate.
The partnership has worked like a charm.
NEXT Distro processes online orders. Harm Reduction Ohio fulfills them. Since we started working together, Harm Reduction Ohio has fulfilled 21% of orders taken nationwide by NEXT Distro. The two harm reduction organization’s work together seamlessly every day — even though no one from either organization has ever met in person. Such is the modern economy!
In the last three and a half years, Allison Loeber, Chris Hawkins and Mary Loesch have all made import contributions to let Harm Reduction Ohio handle big increases in volume. Today, AmandaLynn Reese, Shae Dalrymple and Sydney Tavens do the heavy lifting.
First order: To Wood County
Our first online order was from a small village in Wood County in northern Ohio. The second was from Springfield, in central Ohio. The third from Brown County in southern Ohio. Since then, we fulfilled orders from all 88 Ohio counties, notably in counties with poor naloxone access.
Since out first order in 2019…we’ve become legal, licensed and supported by the Ohio Department of Health’s amazing Project DAWN program. Dr. Robert Masone, an entrepreneur by nature, put his medical license on the line to support a naloxone start-up with big dreams.
Today, we give out mostly state-supplied naloxone nasal spray (i.e., Narcan) as well as intramuscular naloxone supplied by DirectRelief (the pharmaceutical industry charity). The naloxone supplied to us this year will have a market value of more than $2 million.
As of today, we’ve distributed 8,778 naloxone kits online in 2022 and another 21,261 kits through our staff and network of 300 volunteer lay distributors across Ohio. Each kit has two naloxone doses in it.
By the end of 2022, we will have given out almost 40,000 naloxone kits (80,000 doses) across Ohio. It’s moving to think about all the lives that have been saved by HRO’s commitment to get naloxone to regular people, especially regular people who use drugs. It’s heartbreaking, though, to remember our colleagues and friends who’ve died, including some of Ohio’s most committed harm reductionists. (RIP HRO outreach director Dylan Stanley.)
What’s to be learned from all of this?
The lesson is clear: Things get better. Things get better when good people work hard and do the right thing. Not immediately…but eventually. And often a lot faster than people realize. It’s important that today’s struggles don’t wear you down and make you think good things don’t happen.
Harm Reduction Ohio has a Lily Tomlin quote taped to our door: “I said ‘Somebody should do something about that.’ Then I realized: I am somebody.” Less than four years ago former Harm Reduction Ohio administrator Carole Robinson screamed: “Hey, we got our first order!” And today? Naloxone specialist Sydney Tavens shipped 87 orders that arrived in just the last 24 hours. And yesterday? The state pharmacy delivered 5,000 Project DAWN naloxone kits that will keep Harm Reduction supplied for six weeks.
Remember…you are that somebody.
From small things big things come.
How you can help
Donations to support naloxone distribution much appreciated.