On Thursday, December 13th, Chester County’s Health Department and Department of Drug & Alcohol Services are hosting a free Naloxone Day, with doses of the medication being given away to anyone who cannot or does not wish to obtain it from a pharmacy. The event is part of the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s “Stop Overdoses in PA: Get Help Now” campaign and the goal is to increase awareness of, and access to the lifesaving medication, especially for those who feel they can benefit from having a dose of naloxone on hand, who may have a substance use disorder, or those who may encounter someone in crisis.
On Thursday, December 13th from 11:00am to 7:00pm two naloxone distribution sites will be set up in Chester County – one at the Chester County Government Services Center, 601 Westtown Road in West Chester and the other at the Chester County Public Safety Training Campus, 137 Modena Road in South Coatesville. Recipients will not have to provide any personal information to receive the naloxone. Distribution is on a first come, first serve basis while supplies last and just one naloxone kit is available per person.
Naloxone, also known by the brand names Narcan® or Evzio, is a medication which reverses opioid (prescription painkillers, fentanyl, and heroin) overdoses and gives the person a chance at recovery. When given during an opioid overdose, naloxone blocks the effects of opioids on the brain and restores breathing within minutes.
“Last year Chester County lost 144 lives to accidental drug overdose, a majority of which involved opioids,” said Vince Brown, Director of the Chester County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services. “We are working together, and must continue to work together to provide comprehensive solutions to the opioid epidemic, and access to naloxone is a key part of that. The medication saves lives.
“Once stabilized following an overdose, someone who is suffering from an Opioid Use Disorder has a chance to obtain treatment and recovery. We know treatment works and recovery is possible,” added Brown.
Jeanne Casner, Director of the Chester County Health Department commented, “We want to get this lifesaving medication into the hands of many people in the community, which will ultimately save lives – but we recognize that some residents may not be able to make it out to one of the free Narcan distribution locations.
“The fact is, the public can obtain naloxone over the counter at most pharmacies due to a standing order, which is a prescription written for the general public by the Pennsylvania Physician General. Naloxone is covered by most insurance companies at little to no co-pay."
Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan added, “Every week, Chester County police officers save lives by administering naloxone to people who are overdosing. This naloxone giveaway day invites ordinary citizens to join us in fighting the opioid epidemic by arming themselves to protect friends and loved ones who might overdose. Every life matters.”
Chester County remains committed to tackling the opioid and heroin epidemic through intensive prevention, education, treatment and law enforcement measures, and has an established Overdose Prevention Task Force. To learn more about treatment services and other resources in Chester County, or to get involved in the Task Force, visit the Overdose Prevention Task Force website.For more information on opioids, providing community education and additional resources, download the Opioid Epidemic Community Tool Kit.