Pennsylvania will distribute naloxone for free at 80 locations primarily at state health centers and county/municipal health departments on December 13.
The distribution is part of the state government’s effort to stop overdose deaths and get Pennsylvanians suffering from drug addiction into treatment.
Naloxone is a medication that can reverse an overdose caused by opioids including the illegal drug heroin, fentanyl, and prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and many others. When administered during an overdose, naloxone prevents the effects of opioids in the brain and respiratory system and restores a person’s breathing within a few minutes.
Pennsylvania is one of the states in the nation with the highest rates of overdose deaths due to the opioid epidemic. Last year, 5,456 Pennsylvanians died of drug overdoses, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Naloxone is an essential life-saving medication
In a statement, Governor Tom Wolf said, “The life-saving medication naloxone is essential for all of us to have on hand, particularly if you have a loved one suffering from opioid-use disorder,”
“We want to ensure that through this opportunity for free naloxone, we can save more lives and get more Pennsylvanians 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,” he added.
On the other hand, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, said, “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 2014, Pennsylvania police officers and EMS providers revived more than 20,000 people by administering naloxone.
In April, Dr. Levine issued a standing order prescription to any Pennsylvanian to get naloxone at a pharmacy if he or she needs it.
Pennsylvania’s free naloxone distribution comes after it received a $10 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to implement new approaches to prevent and treat opioid addiction.