Department of Health provides overdose meds

Free naloxone will be available to anyone at one location in Warren County on Thursday, Dec. 13 as part of a state initiative to reduce opioid overdoses.

The naloxone can be obtained at the Warren County State Health Center, 2027 Pennsylvania Ave. East on Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

There are no requirements in order to get the free naloxone, according to Nate Wardle, press secretary at the Pa. Department of Health. “People do not need to bring anything with them,” Wardle said.

Naloxone is a medication that can reverse an overdose caused by an opioid by blocking the effects of opioids on the brain. Secretary of Health Rachel Levine issued a standing order prescription to any resident of the state 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 and save someone’s life,” Levine said. “It is impossible to get someone into treatment who is dead. 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 20,000 people have been revived with naloxone by police officers and EMS providers in Pennsylvania. Last year more than 5,000 residents of the state died from an opioid overdose.

“One of the biggest misconceptions of individuals battling substance use disorder is that they want to die, when the vast majority of overdose deaths are accidental,” said Drug and Alcohol Secretary Jen Smith. “We do not stand a chance in overcoming this epidemic if we are unable to help individuals into treatment. I encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity to help their loved ones in their time of need.”

The Wolf Administration will provide naloxone for free to any Pennsylvanian who wants it at nearly 80 locations across the state, primarily at state health centers and county/municipal health departments, on Thursday, as part of the administration’s ongoing effort to reduce the number of opioid overdoses and get residents into treatment.

“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,” Governor Tom Wolf said. “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.”

In addition to being able to get naloxone for free on Dec. 13, it is available at most pharmacies across the state year-round. Naloxone is available to many with public and private insurance at pharmacies for free or at a low cost.

“The number of kits provided to each location is based on a formula that looks at the population, the number of overdoses in that area, the number of EMS transports, the amount of first responders carrying naloxone, etc.” Wardle said. “The naloxone will be on a first-come, first-serve basis, but if a location runs out, it is important to remember that many pharmacies throughout the state carry naloxone as well, and it is available for free or low cost.”

Additional information on Stop Overdoses Week and naloxone can be found on the state’s website at www.pa.gov/opioids.

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