Pooja Reddy, PreventEd Board Member and Lafayette High School Senior, is on a mission to put Naloxboxes in high-risk, high-traffic sites around the St. Louis area. Naloxboxes are prevention resources that provide access to life-saving naloxone, a drug reverses opioid overdoses.
After learning about a family member experiencing opioid use disorder, Pooja’s eyes were opened to the opioid epidemic and the impact it has had on our community. She dove into research, and the more she learned, the more she wanted to make a difference.
When talking with PreventEd about the project, Pooja said, “This is the time for change. We are living in a society where we have the opportunity to make change every single day. The first step with that is with the Naloxbox. We see that addiction is a problem, so what can we do to better that? What steps can we take to create a better future for the next generation and future kids? Addiction is real, it is a problem, and we need to face it head on.”
And she has wasted no time. She started a nonprofit called The Opioid Project, worked with local university professors and opioid researches to identify high risk zip codes, coordinated with PreventEd to gather resources, then partnered with the St. Louis County Health Department to identify high risk areas in these zip codes, and locations that would be well-suited to displaying Naloxboxes.
The goal of the project is to break the stigma surrounding opioid use disorder, and make a resource widely available for people to use anonymously. First responders can’t always be there in the crucial seconds it takes to save a life, and placing the boxes in high-risk, high-traffic areas makes naloxone available for people who may be first on the scene of an opioid overdose.