HARRISBURG, Pa., July 15, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Capitol Police Superintendent Joe Jacob today announced an officer from the 3rd Platoon was able to successfully administer the important life-saving opioid overdose reversal drug, naloxone, to an unresponsive female in the Harrisburg area on July 14. This is the first time the PA Capitol Police have administered the drug since they began carrying it in late 2015.
PA Capitol Police were called to the Cameron Street Parking Circle of the PA Farm Show Complex where the female subject was found incoherent, breathing shallowly, with a weak, slow pulse. The responding officer then assembled and administered nasal naloxone to her before she was then loaded into the ambulance by EMS for transport to Harrisburg Hospital. Upon leaving the scene in the ambulance, the subject was in a more alert and coherent state than when the officer first arrived.
"In circumstances where opioid overdoses are suspected, it's important to have the proper tools to effectively respond in a timely manner to what is a life or death situation," Jacob noted. "Thanks to our ability to carry naloxone, and the training all of our officers receive, our officer was able to respond to the situation, quickly assess it and ultimately save this person's life."
In 2015, more than 3,300 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. Police are instrumental in saving the lives of anyone who overdoses on prescription pain medication or heroin. According to a Center for Rural Pennsylvania survey of police departments, police are first on the scene of an overdose approximately 70 percent of the time.
In late November of 2015, all PA Capitol Police took the half-hour, mandatory, on-line training provided by the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police to administer naloxone. This was followed up with an additional 45-minute hands-on training to familiarize officers with the administration of the life-saving medication.
PA Capitol Police and other law enforcement agencies throughout the commonwealth carrying naloxone is only one way the state is fighting the war on opioid addiction.
Working with the legislature, Governor Tom Wolf secured critical funding in the budget to establish new treatment centers and improve treatment options for Pennsylvanians struggling with substance abuse disorder.
The 2016-17 budget included $10 million in behavioral health funding and $5 million in medical assistance funding, totaling $15 million. This will allow the PA Department of Human Services to draw down $5.4 million in federal funding for an overall total of $20.4 million.
This critical funding will enable the DHS, during phase one, to implement 20 Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) Centers of Excellence that will treat approximately 4,500 people that currently are not able to access treatment.
DHS is also working to determine the number of additional centers that can funded with the $5 million in state Medicaid funds and $5.4 million in federal funds by analyzing the impact they will have on Medicaid managed care rates. The department will announce the additional Medicaid-funded OUD Centers of Excellence in August.
MEDIA CONTACT: Troy Thompson, 717-787-3197
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of General Services