EAST BERLIN, Pa., Jan. 4, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine today joined Dr. Gregory Lynch from the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and Linda Thompson, Community Services Director for the Adams County Area Agency on Aging, at the East Berlin Pharmacy to demonstrate how to fill prescriptions for naloxone, a life-saving opioid overdose reversal drug which is readily available to anyone in the commonwealth due to the standing order signed by Dr. Levine.
"The disease of addiction can develop in anyone who uses opioids, including military veterans and older Pennsylvanians who use pain medication to manage chronic pain," said Dr. Levine. "Addiction is not a moral failing, and any person who suffers an overdose deserves another chance at life. Obtaining naloxone using my standing order and knowing how to administer it can save the life of a loved one or a member of your community."
A 2014 American Medical Association study found that soldiers returning from combat deployment had higher rates of chronic pain and opioid use than the general public.
Older adults are at risk for prescription drug abuse because they take more prescription medicines than other age groups. According to a recent John Hopkins University Study, Americans 65 years of age or older make up only 13 percent of the total United States population, yet they take approximately 33 percent of all prescription drugs.
Naloxone rapidly reverses heroin and other opioid overdoses. The Wolf Administration holds the fight against heroin and prescription opioids as a top priority.
Some of the administration's other initiatives to fight the opioid epidemic include:
- Partnering with Adapt Pharma to distribute Narcan, a brand of naloxone, to 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; 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.
If you or someone you know is suffering from the disease of addiction, call 1-800-662-HELP or visit www.pa.gov/opioids for treatment options. For more information on the fight against opioid abuse in Pennsylvania, visit the Department of Health website at www.health.pa.gov.
MEDIA CONTACT: April Hutcheson, 717-787-1783
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health