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St. Joseph County Department of Health (Indiana)

St. Joseph County
Department of Health (Indiana)

Jurisdiction: St. Joseph County, population 272,912

St. Joseph County is the fifth-most populous county in Indiana; its county seat is South Bend. The county recorded the most overdose deaths in its history in 2021: data indicate that 709 emergency room visits were related to 91 fatal overdoses. From 2020 to 2021, St. Joseph County witnessed a 146 percent increase in overdose deaths.

The St. Joseph County Department of Health used Comprehensive Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Program funds to purchase and place five new permanent drop boxes throughout the county. Placement focused on rural towns and townships that did not have a safe disposal program and were beginning to see an increase in overdoses. Funds were also used to purchase 11,000 drug disposal pouches, which were distributed by law enforcement and first responders, local pharmacies, health care providers, and funeral homes. In so doing, the funds enhanced the county’s Prevention Plus program, an on-demand home delivery service available to anyone in St. Joseph County in need of an at-home prescription drug disposal pouch. The service was provided in partnership with United Way’s Ride United Last Mile Delivery program, DoorDash, and the St. Joseph County Police Department and serves rural, elderly, disabled, and underserved populations that had limited access to a proper disposal site.