Governor Tom Wolf and first responders gathered in Homewood at Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire Station #17 to thank first responders and announce the increased availability of live-saving Naloxone to first responders and law enforcement across the state. The funding, available through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, is being used to purchase approximately60,000 Naloxone kits.
“Naloxone is an incredibly important and lifesaving tool because we cannot get our loved ones, our neighbors, the members of our communities the treatment they need if they die from an overdose of prescription opioids or heroin,” Gov. Wolf said.
“Every day, our first responders are saving the lives of Pennsylvanians by administering naloxone and reversing deadly overdoses. Those first responders have already reversed over 3,900 opioid overdoses since 2014. We need to support them in this effort and that’s why this funding from my 2017-18 budget is so critical.”
“The range of first responders eligible for naloxone use is much broader than those folks we commonly think of as first responders, such as law enforcement and firemen,” PCCD Chairman Charles Ramsey said. “Individuals who find themselves in positions of being the first person able to respond to an overdose – such as librarians, public transit drivers, and drug treatment providers – are also eligible for the naloxone made available through this state funding.”
NARCAN®(naloxone HCI) Nasal Spray is needle-free and does not require assembly. It’s designed for ease of use for nonmedical personnel. Each kit includes two, 4-milligram doses and will be available to all 67 counties over a two-year period using $5 million in state funding. The kits are supplied by Adapt Pharma.
“As a proud Pennsylvania company based in Radnor, we are honored to partner with the commonwealth to increase awareness of and access to NARCAN® Nasal Spray, the only FDA-approved, needle-free formulation of 4-milligram naloxone that does not require assembly or any specialized medical training,” Thomas Duddy, Adapt Pharma Executive Director, Communications said.
In addition to Adapt Pharma and first responders, Gov. Wolf was joined by Senator Jay Costa and Representative Ed Gainey, Democratic chairs of the HOPE caucus, a group of state legislators committed to ensuring every Pennsylvanian has access to high quality prevention and treatment of the disease of substance use disorder; Derin Myers, Executive Deputy Secretary of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency; Jennifer Smith, Acting Secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs; Dr. Karen Hacker, Allegheny County Department of Health; Wendell Hissrich, Director of Public Safety for the city of Pittsburgh; and Darryl Jones, Chief, Bureau of Fire.
The Wolf Administration’s Physician General and Acting Secretary for the Department of Health Dr. Rachel Levine issued a standing order for naloxone in October 2015.
In addition, the Gov. Wolf and state agencies have been increasing efforts in the heroin and opioid epidemic fight in multiple additional areas, including numerous programs and initiatives:
- Working with the legislature to establish a new law limiting the number of opioids that can be prescribed to a minor and to individuals discharged from emergency rooms to seven days;
- Strengthening the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) through the legislative process so that doctors are required and able to check the system each time they prescribe opioids and benzodiazepines. To date, there have been more than 12 million patient searches made on the system;
- Forming new prescribing guidelines to help doctors who provide opioid prescriptions to their patients, including guidelines specific to orthopedics and sports medicine;
- Creating the warm handoff guideline to facilitate referrals from the emergency department to substance abuse treatment;
- Teaming with the legislature to establish education curriculum on safe prescribing for medical schools;
- Educating and encouraging patients to properly use, store and dispose of unused prescription medications through drug take-back initiatives, and expanding the number of drug take-back locations to nearly 700.
For more information on the standing order for naloxone, visit the Department of Health’s website. For more information about the naloxone application process, visit the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s website.