New Paris, PA – Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine and Mark Kudlawiec, Superintendent of Chestnut Ridge School District, visited Whysong’s Pharmacy in Bedford County today to demonstrate the ease with which anyone can fill prescriptions for naloxone, a life-saving opioid overdose reversal drug which is readily available to anyone in the commonwealth due to the standing order prescription signed by Dr. Levine.
“The availability of very cheap and extremely powerful opioids in our communities makes naloxone a crucial tool for saving lives,” said Dr. Levine. “Obtaining and learning how to properly use naloxone will give you the ability to save the life of a friend or loved one. Whether in our homes, at work, or in school, we must all be prepared and work together to respond to the opioid crisis.”
Naloxone is a medication that can reverse an overdose from opioid prescription pain medication or heroin. When administered during an overdose, naloxone blocks the effects of opioids on the brain and restores breathing within two to eight minutes. Naloxone has been used safely by medical professionals for more than 40 years and its only function is to reverse the effects of opioids on the brain and respiratory system in order to prevent death.
In February 2016, the Wolf Administration partnered with Pennsylvania-based pharmaceutical company Adapt Pharma to increase statewide access to Narcan, a brand of naloxone, including distribution to public high schools. Since that time, 219 high schools have received Narcan at no cost because of this partnership.
“The opioid epidemic does not stop at the doors of our schools and overdoses do not discriminate based on age, religion or background,” said Kudlawiec. “Providing appropriate care to students and employees in health emergency situations is an essential part of our school district’s mission. We are working to obtain naloxone for our students and look forward to working with the Department of Health to educate our faculty and young people on the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania.”
Anyone in Pennsylvania can obtain naloxone by filling a prescription from a health care provider or by using the standing order issued by Dr. Levine, which serves as a naloxone prescription for anyone in the general public to use. The standing order is kept on file at many pharmacies and can also be downloaded from the Department of Health website.
The Wolf Administration holds the fight against heroin and prescription opioids as a top priority. Some of the administration’s other initiatives to fight the opioid epidemic include:
· Strengthening the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) so that doctors are required and able to check the system each time they prescribe opioids;
· Forming new prescribing guidelines to help doctors who provide opioid prescriptions to their patients;
· Creating the warm handoff guideline to facilitate referrals from the emergency department to substance abuse treatment;
· Establishing a new law limiting the amount of opioids that can be prescribed to a minor to seven days; and
- Creating Centers of Excellence, central hubs that provide navigators to assist those with opioid use disorders with behavioral and physical health care, along with medication-assisted treatment, as needed.
If you or someone you know is suffering from the disease of addiction, call 1-800-662-HELP or visit www.pa.gov/opioids for treatment options. For more information on the fight against opioid abuse in Pennsylvania, visit the Department of Health website at www.health.pa.gov or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
MEDIA CONTACT: April Hutcheson, 717-787-1783
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