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Heroin overdose drug naloxone to be provided free to all Pa public schools

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HARRISBURG, Pa. –  The Wolf administration has partnered with Adapt Pharma to increase statewide access to the naloxone drug, which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Adapt will provide a free carton of Narcan Nasal Spray, one brand of naloxone, to all of Pennsylvania’s public schools.

In a statement Governor Wolf praised the partnership as another crucial step to combat the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania:
“I am thrilled to announce my administration’s next step in the fight against the opioid epidemic,” said Governor Wolf. “By equipping trained professionals in schools with this drug, we are providing another way to save Pennsylvanian lives. It is our responsibility to give these struggling individuals another chance at life.”

Pennsylvania is the first state to implement this program, sponsored by Adapt Pharma in partnership with the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, an Initiative of the Clinton Foundation. Pennsylvania public high schools will also have access to new educational materials and training developed by the National Association of School Nurses as part of the program.

Under this program, Adapt Pharma and the Clinton Foundation are offering every public high school in the country one free carton of NARCAN Nasal Spray. The distribution of the cartons will be facilitated by the Pennsylvania Department of Health through school nurses. Adapt Pharma has provided a grant to the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) to support their educational efforts around opioid overdose in schools. The grant will allow NASN to develop and disseminate educational materials to the nation’s school nurses and the students and families they work with every day.

“We understand the crucial role schools can play to change the course of the opioid overdose epidemic by working with students and families,” said Seamus Mulligan, Chairman and CEO of Adapt Pharma. “We want every high school in the country to be prepared for an opioid emergency by having access to a carton of NARCAN Nasal Spray at no cost. We look forward to working with our partners to implement these initiatives, which build on the significant progress being made by legislators and community groups.”

The Wolf Administration has made the fight against heroin a top priority. Some of the administration’s initiatives include: signing a statewide standing order for naloxone, making it possible for all Pennsylvanians to access this life-saving drug; equipping the Pennsylvania State Police with naloxone, so that those troopers who are first on the scene of an overdose can have another tool on-hand during these emergencies; and training Pennsylvania Capitol Police to administer and carry naloxone.

In addition to these actions, the Wolf Administration is currently working to develop the ABC-MAP prescription drug monitoring program to detect and prevent prescription fraud and abuse, which contribute to addiction. This program was the recipient of two federal grants last year: the 2015 federal Harold Rogers grant for $409,000 and a CDC grant of $900,000 to enhance, maximize, and support the implementation of ABC-MAP.

“Opioid addiction is the most pressing health threat in Pennsylvania today and the availability of naloxone is a critical component in our broad effort to address it,” said Department of Health Secretary Dr. Karen Murphy. “This generous donation will ensure that all public schools across the Commonwealth have access to naloxone. As a result many more lives will be saved and those young people, with their futures ahead of them, will be able to receive the treatment they need.”

“This partnership will educate and equip our schools’ trained medical professionals to use this lifesaving tool,” said Department of Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera. “Trained professionals in our schools can reduce response time and allow them to provide swift treatment to any individual overdosing in a school.”

“In rural areas, it may take longer for emergency first responders to reach patients,” said Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Gary Tennis. “Thus stocking this medication on school grounds can prevent many unnecessary deaths. We need to ensure that anyone who might be in a position to encounter an opioid overdose has access to this lifesaving antidote.”

“The Department of State licenses and regulates 447,593 professionals in the health fields,” said Secretary of State Pedro A. Cortés. “We are distributing information to the Boards of Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy on the dangers of opioids as part of our commitment to protect the health and safety of the public.”