On Wednesday, September 18, Chester County’s Health Department and Department of Drug & Alcohol Services are hosting a free Naloxone Day, with doses of the medication 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. The goal of the campaign 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 Wednesday, September 18 from 11am-7pm four naloxone distribution sites will be set up in Chester County:
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 dose is available per person.
Naloxone, also known by the brand names Narcan® or Evzio, is a medication that 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 112 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 continue to work with the County Health Department and many other partners, to provide comprehensive solutions to the opioid epidemic, and access to naloxone is a key part of that. The medication saves lives.
“It is important to remember though, once Narcan has been administered, the person then needs to receive appropriate medical services. 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. 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 remains committed to tackling the opioid and heroin epidemic and enhancing the recovery community through a collaborative approach coordinated by the Chester County Drug Overdose Task Force. The Task Force brings together the Chester County Commissioners’ Office, the District Attorney’s Office, the Health Department, the Department of Drug and Alcohol Services and many other County and community partners to address the issue of opioid addiction.
Throughout September, Chester County is recognizing National Recovery Month by hosting several community events including Rock for Recovery, a benefit concert for the overdose survivor warm hand off program, held at the Asplundh Hall, West Chester University on Saturday, September 21. The concert will feature performances by the Mark Evans Band and Friends, and a special guest speaker, Brandon Novak. More information and tickets are available at www.StopODChesco.org.
Additionally, the County will be holding its fourth annual Chester County Color 5K on Saturday, October 5 in Everhart Park in West Chester. The event raises awareness, reduces the stigma of opioid abuse and raises funds to support overdose survivors, their families and friends through the Chester County’s COPE program. For more information on the Color 5K Walk/Run,, and to register, go to chesco.org/color5k.