READING, Pa., March 4, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine today visited Esterbrook Pharmacy to remind the public and medical professionals about the availability and effectiveness of the opioid antidote naloxone. Esterbrook Pharmacy is stocked with naloxone and already dispensed it to customers.
"We want to make certain that all pharmacists and medical professionals are aware that Pennsylvania's standing order means anyone can obtain this life-saving medication," said Dr. Levine. "Naloxone has been used to save the lives of hundreds of Pennsylvanians who overdosed on heroin or prescription painkillers. We will continue to ensure that all Pennsylvanians understand the terms of this standing order so that more lives can be saved."
Last fall, 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.
Naloxone rapidly reverses heroin and other opioid overdoses. In 2014, nearly 2,500 Pennsylvanians died from a drug overdose. Heroin and opioid overdose are the leading cause of accidental death in Pennsylvania, killing more individuals each year than motor vehicle accidents.
Under the leadership of Governor Wolf, the Department of Health is working to provide real solutions to the opioid epidemic that will save lives and help addicted individuals get the treatment they need to live long, productive lives. These efforts during the past year have included:
- Building the enhanced ABC-MAP prescription drug monitoring program;
- Creating the interagency Heroin Task Force;
- Making naloxone available to high schools across the commonwealth; and
- Stocking all Pennsylvania State Police cars with naloxone.
- Developing prescription guidelines for medical specialty areas
- Creating continuing education programs for medical professionals
- Working with medical school deans to ensure medical school students are properly trained about responsible pain prescribing and how to identify and help those suffering with addiction.
In the past year, law enforcement officers with 300 police departments in Pennsylvania have saved more than 600 lives with naloxone.
Governor Wolf's 2015-16 budget proposes $7.5 million in funds to provide additional naloxone to police and to provide more and better treatment options for Pennsylvanians.
Visit the "Opioid Abuse" page at www.health.pa.gov to learn more about the standing order, print a copy of the standing order and find out how to obtain naloxone.
MEDIA CONTACT: Amy Worden, DOH, 717-787-1783
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health