Keystone state’s Naloxone Program key to thousands of overdose reversals
Pennsylvania’s Naloxone Program is being credited with nearly 23,000 overdose reversals since 2017 thanks to the state program increasing access to the life-saving opioid reversal medication, according to the state Department of Health.
Naloxone is a medication approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose by quickly restoring breathing to a person if their breathing has slowed or stopped. While the medication can be administered by individuals with or without medical training, individuals are strongly encouraged to take this free training to better prepare themselves to assist someone in need. Completing the training and printing a certificate of completion will protect individuals administering naloxone as good Samaritans.
“Naloxone is a life-saving medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose,” said Scott J. Constantini, associate vice president, primary care and recovery services integration at The Wright Centers for Community Health. “You never know when you can save a life. Thanks to programs here in Northeast Pennsylvania and across the commonwealth, naloxone is becoming more readily available and more lives are being saved because of it.”
– Scott Constantini
AVP, Primary Care and Recovery Services Integration The Wright Center for Community Health
Pennsylvania residents as well as community organizations can obtain naloxone through a variety of low- or no-cost options.
The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s Naloxone for First Responders Program (NFRP) distributes free naloxone to organizations and individuals who may encounter someone experiencing an overdose.
Through the NFRP since 2017, Centralized Coordinating Entities have distributed 214,514 kits to organizations and individuals who may encounter someone experiencing an overdose and an additional 265,308 kits of naloxone directly to organizations serving high-need communities through its statewide portal.
More than 22,815 overdose reversals have been reported using state-purchased Narcan, a particular brand name of naloxone.
How to acquire naloxone
Pennsylvanians can purchase or use their insurance to obtain naloxone at local pharmacies without a prescription from their physician by presenting a copy of the Department of Health’s standing order.
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging’s PACE prescription assistant program is using its network of 2,800 retail and health system pharmacies to help with distribution. Anyone, regardless of insurance status, can receive $75 in financial assistance to purchase any naloxone medication authorized through the state Department of Health’s standing order.
In addition, Pennsylvania partners with Prevention Point Pittsburgh and NEXT Distro to support a statewide mail-based naloxone program for Pennsylvania residents to request and receive naloxone for free by mail.
Locally, the Lackawanna County Office of Drug and Alcohol serves as the Single County Authority for substance abuse services for Lackawanna and Susquehanna counties. The Lackawanna Recovery Coalition also provides information about regional pharmacies that carry naloxone.
In Luzerne County, the Luzerne County State Health Center, 665 Carey Ave., Suite 2, Wilkes-Barre; and the Wilkes-Barre City Health Department, 71 N. Franklin St., Kirby Health Center, Wilkes-Barre, has naloxone kits available.
The Lackawanna County State Health Center, Scranton State Office Building, 100 Lackawanna Ave., Room 110, Scranton; Monroe County State Health Center, 1972 W. Main St., Suite 102, Stroudsburg; Pike County State Health Center, 10 Buist Rd., Suite 401, Milford; Susquehanna County State Health Center, 157 Spruce St., Montrose; Wayne County State Health Center, 615 Erie Heights, Honesdale; Wyoming County State Health Center, 5632 state Route 6, Tunkhannock, are also participating in the program.
Naloxone prescriptions can be filled at most pharmacies. Although the medication may not be available for same day pick up, it can often be ordered and available with a day or two, according to the state Department of Health.
Naloxone is a safe, easy-to-use, life-saving medication. For more information, please click here. To find a drug and alcohol treatment provider in Pennsylvania, please go here.
Please consult with your primary care doctor or contact one of the participating agencies or pharmacies to acquire the life-saving opioid reversal medication.