HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Capital BlueCross today announced it is providing an additional $100,000 to arm police officers with naloxone, the medication that reverses heroin overdoses. Capital BlueCross is committed to its tradition as a strong community partner and doing what it can to help stem the growing heroin crisis in Pennsylvania.
This is the second round of funding to help fight heroin addiction. In 2014, Capital BlueCross donated $50,000 to provide naloxone to police officers. Today's announcement brings the company's financial commitment to a total of $150,000.
Naloxone works by blocking the opioid receptors in the brain and temporarily restores breathing in someone who has overdosed on heroin or prescription painkillers. It is easily administered by being sprayed into each nostril.
"Today's contribution means more people will be given a second chance at life. Naloxone has already saved countless lives. They are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends and neighbors in our community," said Gary D. St. Hilaire, President and CEO of Capital BlueCross. "As a company, Capital BlueCross is committed to helping people live healthy lives. This will help put more people on the road to recovery and to a healthier future."
"On behalf of all the people whose lives will be saved by this generous donation, I thank Capital BlueCross. For the second time, they have stepped forward as a leader in fighting the worst overdose death epidemic this state has ever seen," said Sect. Gary Tennis, Dept. of Drug and Alcohol Programs. "With this money, we have the potential to help not only hundreds of people with the disease of addiction, but the thousands of family members and friends whose lives are also affected. We are truly grateful for Capital BlueCross' compassion and leadership."
The money to purchase naloxone will be distributed by the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association in Capital BlueCross' 21-county service area. This will allow municipal police departments and campus police to buy the life-saving drug. Officers will carry naloxone and are trained to administer it on someone who is experiencing a potentially fatal overdose.
"Drug abuse and deaths are a statewide epidemic. No community is immune. To develop solutions to this crisis requires a comprehensive approach including prevention, intervention and treatment," said Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association President and Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman. "Capital BlueCross' commitment is, quite literally, saving lives, providing second chances, and serving our public safety goals by helping people face and conquer their addictions."
Naloxone is not addictive and its only use is to reverse the effects of a fatal opioid drug overdose.
"We at the Department of Health are thrilled that Capital BlueCross is making this generous donation that will help get this life-saving drug into the hands of more local law enforcement agencies," said Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine. "Naloxone is a safe and effective drug that reverses the potentially fatal effects of drug overdose as we have seen in communities across Pennsylvania."
According to the Pennsylvania Dept. of Drug and Alcohol Programs, over 500 people have been saved by officers carrying naloxone in Pennsylvania in the past year.
About Capital BlueCross
Capital BlueCross, headquartered in Harrisburg, Pa., is the leading health solutions and insurance company in central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley. A partner in the community's health for more than 75 years, Capital BlueCross offers insurance products, services and technology solutions that provide peace of mind to consumers and promote health and wellness for our members.
More than an insurer, the company delivers innovative solutions through a family of diversified businesses that are creating a healthier future and lowering health care costs. Among those solutions are patient-focused care models, private exchanges, leading-edge analytics, and digital health technologies. Additionally, Capital BlueCross is growing a network of Capital Blue stores that provide in-person service and inspiration to help people reach their health goals. Capital BlueCross is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit capbluecross.com.
SOURCE Capital BlueCross