With overdose deaths continuously increasing, Pennsylvania is providing the life-saving medication naloxone free to qualifying residents.
According to the Pennsylvania departments of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), Department of Health (DOH), and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), Pennsylvania has officially filled 10,000 requests for naloxone through Pennsylvania’s mail-based naloxone program.
“Naloxone is a life-saving, overdose reversal medication and access to it is absolutely critical,” said DDAP Secretary Jen Smith. “Across the commonwealth, local and state partners in the drug and alcohol field are working each day to keep fellow Pennsylvanians alive and decrease the chances of folks suffering a fatal overdose.”
The program is a partnership with the Wolf Administration, Prevention Point Pittsburgh, and NEXT Distro for Pennsylvania residents to request and receive naloxone for free by mail. To qualify for mail-based distribution, individuals must view a short training video, answer a few confidential questions and provide mailing information.
Since the program’s start in 2020, almost 36,000 doses of naloxone have been provided to people in all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. Data collected by Prevention Point Pittsburgh and NEXT Distro indicate that the program has significantly increased access to naloxone for people who need it. More than 75% of people who received naloxone by mail indicated it was their first time obtaining the life-saving medication.
“PCCD is proud of our work with state and local partners to help stem the tide of the overdose crisis,” said PCCD’s Executive Director Michael Pennington. “These efforts to coordinate distribution of naloxone statewide are helping make second chances possible for more Pennsylvanians.”
Naloxone is a medication approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose by quickly restoring breathing to a person if their breathing has slowed or stopped because of an opioid overdose. Individuals can administer naloxone with or without medical training to help reduce opioid overdose deaths.
Pennsylvanians have had access to obtain naloxone from their local pharmacy since 2014. Most recently, the standing orders for first responders and the general public were recently updated to include ZIMHI, a 5 milligram (mg) pre-filled intra-muscular injection device that comes as a single-dose pre-filled syringe or a carton containing two cases of the pre-filled syringes.
“First responders and the general public now have access to multiple forms of life-saving Naloxone,” said Acting Secretary of Health and Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson. “Regardless of what form it is delivered by, naloxone saves lives. We continue to thank the heroes who have administered this life-saving tool to other Pennsylvanians to date.”
The DOH recently revised Pennsylvania’s naloxone training video and resources available through Train PA to include updated information on administering naloxone. To watch the training or see the available resources, you must create an account through Train PA.
More information on naloxone can be found on Narcan’s official website.