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Naloxone Giveaways Gaining Popularity

We continue to hear time and again how finances play a big role in hindering recovery efforts. Millions across the country avoid entering treatment because of a lack of funds or proper insurance coverage. But the truth of the matter is, there are plenty of programs geared towards lower income people. In fact, one initiative in Pennsylvania is going so far as to offer free naloxone doses to those in need.

In case you are unfamiliar, naloxone has become one of the most successful remedies in the war against opioid addictions. Proven to save lives, it can be administered during an overdose to get people’s vital signs back on track. Typically this type of medication can be costly and usually remains in the hands of first responders. But now, the public is getting an opportunity to receive dosages free of charge.

Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf and the state’s Department of Health can take the credit for this latest effort. Thanks to some groundbreaking new initiatives, they will be dispensing the product across various regions on September 25. When asked about the rationale behind the movement, local officials called out one singular stat. Plain and simple: naloxone saves lives.

“Naloxone has one function: to reverse the effects of opioids on the brain and respiratory system to save someone’s life,” Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine explained in a statement. “It is impossible to get someone into treatment who is dead. In 2018, more than 4,400 people died from a drug overdose. Every Pennsylvanian has a role to play as a potential first responder and can save a life by having naloxone on hand and using it if they come across someone who has overdosed.”

This month, 87 locations across Pennsylvania will be dispensing the medication. This includes state health centers, hospitals and municipal welfare departments. New Jersey led the way with a prior initiative back in June. During that time, select pharmacies gave out naloxone with great success.

As expected though, the mission does have its critics. Some are saying that making naloxone readily available (and free) could encourage more people to use, since they know they have an “antidote” in their back pocket. But research and state officials strongly feel otherwise, touting the very real success metrics behind the med.

“The scourge of opioids continues to devastate families and communities across our state, and we must do everything we can to end the opioid epidemic,” New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy added when voicing his support for Pennsylvania. “Through this initiative, people who are battling with addiction will be able to receive access to this critical medication and help them get on a path to recovery.”