WILLIAMSPORT, Pa., Nov. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine today trained 25 Williamsport-area community health nurses on how to properly administer the anti-overdose drug naloxone, completing a six month initiative to train all 150 community health nurses in Pennsylvania.
"Naloxone has one purpose – to save lives," said Dr. Levine. "Our community health nurses work on the front lines of the fight against the opioid epidemic. Training them on how to properly administer naloxone doesn't just help them save lives themselves, but it also means they can pass on that knowledge to others. The goal is to get as many people as possible ready to take action if they're in the presence of someone suffering an overdose."
The event was the final in a series of demonstrations to educate Department of Health nurses in state health centers across the commonwealth about how to reverse overdoses and save lives using naloxone. An injection of naloxone rapidly reverses heroin and other opioid overdoses, which currently cause more accidental deaths in Pennsylvania than any other cause – even motor vehicle accidents.
Just over a year ago, as part of Governor Tom Wolf's effort to address the opioid abuse crisis in the commonwealth, Dr. Levine signed a standing order that serves as a prescription for all Pennsylvanians to access naloxone at their local pharmacies. The standing order is available at most pharmacies but can also be downloaded from the Department of Health website.
The Wolf Administration holds the fight against heroin and prescription opioids as a top priority. Some of the administration's other initiatives include:
- Partnering with Adapt Pharma to distribute Narcan, a brand of naloxone, to 128 high schools across the commonwealth at no cost to the schools;
- Strengthening the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) so that doctors are required and able to check the system each time they prescribe opioids;
- Better preparing doctors and physicians for prescribing opioids and pain management drugs to improve medical school and continuing education curricula on opioids;
- Limiting the number of opioids a patient can receive at emergency rooms to a seven-day supply with no refills;
- Requiring insurance companies to cover abuse deterrent opioids that make it more difficult to abuse these drugs; and
- Establishing a voluntary directive to allow patients who do not want to be prescribed opioids the ability to deny or refuse the administration of these drugs.
For more information on the fight against opioid abuse in Pennsylvania, visit the Department of Health Opioid Abuse website.
MEDIA CONTACT: April Hutcheson, 717-787-1783
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health