Police departments throughout the Commonwealth will soon administer a heroin antidote as needed, free of cost. District attorneys in Pennsylvania say the number one crime and public health problem in the state is the abuse of heroin and misuse of prescription drugs. So they're partnering with a major health insurance company to help put an end to the epidemic.
The PA District Attorneys Association is working with Capital BlueCross to supply overdose rescue kits in 21 counties throughout the State.
Municipal Police Departments will carry the kits which include Naloxone, or Narcan. The antidote is a prescription nasal spray that can help save the life of a person who has overdosed on painkillers or heroin.
District Attorneys will supply the departments with the kits for every police vehicle spanning Central Pennsylvania and Lehigh Valley.
The Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, Gary Tennis, says, "Pennsylvania is losing 8 to 9 people a day to overdoses. Our sons and daughters and brothers and sisters are dying at a rate that's unacceptable and unprecedented in the history of the Commonwealth. Nalaxone is an effective antidote to overdose."
Capital BlueCross will fund at least $50,000 for the rescue kits. We can expect to see them in police cars around the beginning of the new year.
Earlier this year, state lawmakers passed a law that allows first responders to carry and use Naloxone on a person who has suffered an overdose. Previously, State law prohibited police officers from administering prescription drugs.