Beloit businesses install boxes to help reduce overdose deaths

Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 5:47 PM CDT
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BELOIT, Wis. (WIFR) - As drug-related deaths rise in the nation, Beloit businesses take steps to ensure those experiencing an overdose can find help right away.

Beloit organization Families Fighting Addiction partnered with the Madison-based non-profit Start Healing Now to install overdose aid kits, or OAKS, in area buildings. Each kit includes Narcan.

Jessica Geshke, President of Start Healing Now, knows the struggle firsthand.

“I’m an affected family member. I’m also a person in long-term recovery. So my brother would not be here without Narcan. He was saved by Narcan, I was the person that saved him,” she said.

Each box contains Narcan as well as a breathing mask and gloves, instructions on how to administer the drug, and information on resources for treatment and support. When Tracy Burtis, with Families Fighting Addiction, found out about Geshke’s mission, she was determined to bring her to Rock County.

“I lost my son five years ago to an overdose, and at that time I realized wow there’s no support out there”

Burtis says the response from area businesses, like Blackhawk Community Credit Union, is overwhelming.

“Who knows maybe one of the kits that gets taken from our lobby saves a life, and that’s what this is about,” said Ceecee Phillips, Director of Marketing for Blackhawk.

Now Burtis and Geshke’s goal is to get the kits in every Rock County business.

“Everywhere you walk in and you see an AED machine on the wall, we want an oak box next to it”,” said Geshke.

Starting at 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 28, Families Fighting Addiction will hos a walk and lanter release ceremony at Riverside Park’s Lagoon in honor of Overdose Awareness Day in Beloit.

If you would like to learn more about the non-profit Start Healing Now, click here.