Harrisburg, PA - The Wolf Administration distributed nearly 6,800 kits of naloxone to Pennsylvanians over the two-week distribution at 95 locations across the state as Part of Stop Overdoses in Pa.: Get Help Now Week. This is the latest initiative of the administration to get help for residents suffering from the disease of opioid-use disorder.
“The life-saving medication naloxone is essential for every resident to have on hand, particularly if you have a loved one suffering from opioid-use disorder,” Governor Tom Wolf said. “We want to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have the proper tools to help fight this opioid crisis and through this opportunity for free naloxone, we are saving lives and getting those who need it most into treatment. Keeping naloxone in your home, work or even in your car can make the difference between someone getting into treatment or dying from this disease.”
Naloxone is a medication that does not harm the individual it is administered to, and is used to reverse an overdose caused by an opioid by blocking the effects of opioids on the brain. Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine issued a standing order prescription to get naloxone at a pharmacy for anyone who may need it.
“Naloxone has one function: to reverse the effects of opioids on the brain and respiratory system to save someone’s life,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “It is impossible to get someone in to treatment who is dead. In 2018, more than 4,400 people died from a drug overdose. Every Pennsylvanian has a role to play as a potential first responder and can save a life by having naloxone on hand and using it if they come across someone who has overdosed.”
Since November 2014, more than 25,000 people have been revived with naloxone by police officers and EMS providers in Pennsylvania. A standing order, updated in July of 2019, allows firefighters and police officers to administer naloxone as part of their treatment of someone who has overdosed. First responders have access to naloxone for free through funding set aside in the 2019-2020 budget by Governor Wolf and the General Assembly.
“We are at a critical crossroads in combatting the opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania,” said Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Jen Smith. “We have a choice to accept overdoses and the disease of addiction as the new normal or to fight back. I choose to fight. We simply cannot get an individual the help they desperately need following an overdose if they are dead. I am pleased that so many Pennsylvanians used the naloxone distribution days to proactively take action to save our loved ones.”
Naloxone is carried at most pharmacies across the state year-round. Naloxone is available to many with public and private insurance at pharmacies either for free or at a low cost.
Additional information on Stop Overdoses Week and naloxone can be found on the state’s website at www.pa.gov/opioids us on Facebook and Twitter.
MEDIA CONTACT: Nate Wardle, Health, 717-787-1783