Harrisburg, PA – Wolf Administration officials today announced that applications for naloxone kits for first responders throughout the commonwealth are now being accepted.
“Getting first responders enhanced access to naloxone saves lives and gives those suffering from the disease of addiction a second chance,” Acting Health Secretary and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine said. “This opportunity gives heroes in the commonwealth the support they need to better fight the opioid epidemic. Reversing overdoses and then getting people into treatment is the key to curbing addiction and overdose rates.”
“The availability of naloxone is a crucial component in the first step toward the road to recovery,” Acting Secretary for the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, Jennifer Smith said. “The need for naloxone does not stop at first responders and law enforcement. There is a need to permeate this overdose reversal drug in all aspects of our communities including college campuses, libraries, gas stations, and community parks.”
Using $5 million in state funding included in the 2017-18 state budget, Pennsylvania’s Department of Health (DOH), Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) have collaborated to make over 60,000 naloxone kits available to all 67 counties over a two-year period. The kits, which each contain two, 4-milligram doses, are supplied by Adapt Pharma, headquartered in Radnor, PA.
The kits will be allocated through a calculation based on a variety of factors, including county population, county opioid overdose deaths, and information from the Pennsylvania Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). PCCD intends to update the distribution amounts every six months using county data to track the real-time need of the naloxone throughout the state.
One main point of contact for each county or region will be identified to coordinate the process of getting the kits into the hands of first responders. That point of contact will be responsible for identifying first responder needs for naloxone within that county or region.
Eligible points of contact include the county’s county commissioners, single county authority, district attorney’s office, local health office, local medical director, or an emergency medical service agency. First responders within the county who are eligible to receive and utilize the naloxone are:
- Emergency medical services, advanced life support, basic life support, and emergency medical technicians;
- Law enforcement – including municipal police, sheriff’s offices, campus police, campus security, school resource officers, and park rangers;
- Fire fighters to include both volunteer and paid fire fighters;
- Adult probation and parole officers;
- Juvenile probation officers;
- County correctional facilities;
- Afterschool program personnel;
- Public transit drivers;
- Domestic violence shelter personnel;
- Homeless shelter personnel;
- Public defenders’ offices;
- Library personnel;
- Drug treatment providers; and
- Any other community group legally organized and trained to respond to overdose emergencies and administer intranasal naloxone.
Kits could be made available to counties as soon as November 2017. Adapt Pharma, Inc. will distribute the kits to the county points of contact directly to be made available to the first responders the county has identified as needing the naloxone.
“Through our collaborative planning and grant-making processes, PCCD has worked in extensive partnership with communities to address public safety needs for nearly forty years,” PCCD Chairman Charles Ramsey said. “We look forward to working directly with our local partners and Adapt Pharma to get naloxone to first responders as quickly as we possibly can.”
Dr. Levine issued a standing order for naloxone in April of this year. Since that time, more than 3,900 lives have been saved with the medication. In addition, Governor Wolf and state agencies have been increasing efforts in the heroin and opioid epidemic fight in multiple areas, including numerous programs to fight heroin and opioid abuse, such as:
- 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 681.