Naloxone stations to save lives


A group of community members backed by organizations who care, recently stepped up and tackled the problem of naloxone accessibility in a way that also provides room for test strips and educational resources in a creative and unique approach. The former payphone booths with a weatherproof box now serves as a safe space for people facing addiction to receive supplies and information that could save their lives.

The idea sprouted from conversations community organizer and leader Abby Spears had.

“I initially spoke with the folks at OASIS about putting up some kind of external naloxone box and they offered the two payphone housings that were there on the lot,” Spears said.

Friend of Spears, Tom Yeager, then took the project a step further, developing the boxes into safe spaces for those facing addiction. Yeager provided the materials and labor to retrofit the one old payphone surroundings and then purchased additional boxes to insert into the other payphone housings. He also purchased the decals for each.

Spears gives much credit to Yeager.

“It’s amazing how ideas can blossom into full-fledged awesome things. Tom Yeager took a conversation and turned it into reality in different locations around Portsmouth helping make naloxone and other harm reduction supplies available to folks.”

According to Spears, this was an effort with the Southern Ohio Peoples Union and Scioto Connect, Yeager and Spears, and AppalAction.

“We are all very excited to see these up around the community helping to ensure that folks have access to life saving naloxone,” Spears said.

Currently, the boxes have naloxone and Fentanyl test strips and Spears hopes to add Xylazine test strips, information about the Deadly Batch Alert text alert system from The SOAR Initiative, and information about the local SHRPS Syringe Program in the future.

“The goal is to help folks stay safe and alive,” Spears explained. “The street supply is deadly and with destabilization in supply and the number of adulterants being included, testing helps folks know what they have so they can keep themselves and those around them safe.”

This battle feels like a personal one for Spears, who says that she has come across too much loss.

“Ultimately, I, and many others, are tired of losing people we care about. Between 2015 and 2022, approximately 531 members of our community were lost to overdose. That’s 531 mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, spouses, friends, and neighbors who were loved dearly by many,” Spears claimed. “Access to supplies like naloxone and testing equipment are vital tools in stopping this catastrophic loss of life. Harm reduction is critical and essential to building a safer, stronger, healthier community.”

Scioto Connect serves southern Ohio, including Jackson, Pike and Scioto Counties. Their goal is to educate, inform, and empower the community so more people are on the road to health, wellness, and better quality of life.

To support projects, such as the new payphone rescue boxes, you can make donations at

Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.

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