While there’s plenty of reason to celebrate the holiday season, health officials are reminding people that the season also brings with it an increased risk of overdose. But this week, an initiative is being launched that officials hope will save lives.
Matt Heckel reported from Harrisburg.
The Stop Overdoses PA, Get Help Now project is a week-long initiative. The highlight is this Thursday when Naloxone will be provided to Pennsylvanians for free.
“We wanted to make this as available, easily available, as we possibly could,” said Governor Tom Wolf.
On Thursday, Naloxone, the drug that can reverse an overdose caused by an Opioid will be available at almost 80 state health centers, and county and municipal health departments, across the state, free of charge.
“One of the concerns about Naloxone is its price,” said Governor Wolf. “On Thursday, it will be free.”
In the last four years, more than 20,000 people have been revived with Naloxone by police officers and EMS providers in Pennsylvania.
“It does increase public awareness around the need to have people have Naloxone on hand if they’re taking Opioid prescriptions legally, and unfortunately if it’s illegal as well,” said Pat Epple.
Pat Epple with the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association says they’ve known about the increasing Opioid epidemic for years and is happy to state officials doing something about it.
“It’s supplementing our efforts that we do every day in helping to combat the Opioid crisis,” said Epple.
This is being funded by part of the $5 million that was put in the budget to distribute Naloxone.