48 anti-overdose boxes to be installed around RI

In this Friday, June 9, 2017 photo Claudia Rebola, an industrial design professor at the Rhode Island School of Design, demonstrates the NaloxBox in Providence, RI., on June 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Michelle R. Smith)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — An emergency room doctor and faculty member at Brown University’s school of medicine is gaining national attention for creating a lifesaving tool design to combat the opioid epidemic.

Similar to defibrillator boxes, NaloxBoxes are being installed in public places around Rhode Island. Each comes equipped with four doses of naloxone – an overdose-reversing medication – and everything else needed to treat someone who’s overdosing.

“You don’t need to be a medical person to be able to administer it,” said Eileen Hayes, president and CEO of Amos House, which will be receiving the first dozen boxes. Thousands of addicts pass through the organization’s doors every year.

After ten years of struggling with addiction, Christopher Beauregard has been clean for the past two months. He knows the power of naloxone, having been revived just four months ago after an overdose.

The Woonsocket resident is hopeful the NaloxBox will give other addicts a second chance at life.

“I knew I had a next step, I knew I’ve got to open my eyes and take a breath and have another chance to fix myself,” Beauregard said.

As part of the pilot project, 48 boxes will be created and because of a grant from the state Department of Health, it comes at no cost to taxpayers.

“If it’s going to save somebody’s life, why not put a little box?” Beauregard said. “We have defibrillators coming out in more and more places to help people with heart attacks, why not help with drug addiction? If the drug addiction is going to be there, we have to do something about it.”

“It’s not at all telling people that it’s okay to use,” added Hayes. “It’s a pathway to treatment.”

In addition to Amos House, twelve other community organizations have already committed to installing NaloxBoxes.