As the opioid crisis continues to hit communities throughout the country, many first responders have equipped themselves with Narcan, also known as Naloxone, the opiate antidote used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
It’s played a role in saving thousands of lives, but some wonder if there is a better solution.
Jason Snyder, special assistant to the secretary at the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, said the epidemic would be ‘much, much worse’ if it weren’t’ for Naloxone.
“Since January 2015, police across the Commonwealth have reversed more than 3000 overdoses,” Snyder said.
Huntingdon County saw eight overdoses in 2015. Snyder said that number is relatively low compared to neighboring counties like Blair and Cambria.
Paul Sharum, Huntingdon County’s coroner, shared concerns over Narcan enabling addicts to keep abusing drugs.
“We need to do something that when that person is given Narcan, they need to get into some sort of program to help them get away from the addiction,” Sharum said.
Sharum recommends drug users participate in an extended program to help them fight their addiction, but funding these types of resources presents a roadblock for the county.
Snyder said he sees no value in charging a fee for users who continue to walk away from overdoses only to continue using drugs.
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services predicts 4500 overdoses took place in 2016, but is waiting for official statistics from the Drug Enforcement Administration.