HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Shapiro Administration is reminding Pennsylvanians about the multiple ways that the opioid reversal medication, naloxone, can save lives.

According to the Shapiro Administration, there have been nearly 23,000 opioid overdose reversals through the state’s program since 2017.

“Anyone can save a life by administering naloxone to a person who is experiencing an opioid overdose,” said Acting Health Secretary Dr. Debra Bogen. “I encourage Pennsylvanians to obtain naloxone from a pharmacy, community give away event, or other sources – and learn how to give it. You never know when you could save the life of a stranger neighbor, friend, or family member.”   

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the medication, which is used to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose by restoring breathing to a person if their breathing has slowed or stopped.

You do not have to be officially trained to administer naloxone, however it is advised you take the free training to prepare yourself for potential lifesaving situations.

“We are continuing to work with our local and state partners in the drug and alcohol field to make naloxone more readily available,” said Acting Secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Dr. Latika Davis-Jones. “We must keep fellow Pennsylvanians alive and decrease the chances of individuals suffering a fatal overdose.”  

First responders have received free naloxone through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) Naloxone for First Responders Program (NFRP). A total of 214,514 kits have been distributed by Centralized Coordinating Entities (CCEs) to people who may encounter someone experiencing an overdose. An additional 265,308 kits of naloxone were distributed directly to organizations who serve high-need communities.

According to the Shapiro Administration, more than 22,815 overdose reversals have been reported using state purchased NARCAN, which is a popular brand name of naloxone.

Residents are able to purchase or use insurance to obtain naloxone at local pharmacies without a prescription by presenting a copy of the Department of Health’s standing order.

The Pennsylvania Department of Aging’s PACE prescription assistance program is helping with distribution. Anyone, regardless of insurance status, can receive $75 in financial assistance to purchase naloxone through the Department of Health’s standing order.

You can also receive naloxone for free by mail. Pennsylvania has partnered with Prevention Point Pittsburgh and NEXT Distro to support the program.

“In order to help get naloxone to people who need it for themselves or a loved one, we need to do everything we can to make naloxone medications more easily accessible at trusted, familiar locations within communities, such as local pharmacies,” said Acting Secretary of Aging Jason Kavulich, noting that as one example, seniors who are struggling to protect an adult child or grandchild from an overdose can now obtain naloxone from a nearby pharmacy they know and use for their own prescriptions.