New Campaign: Free naloxone kits available to fight opioid epidemic

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Free naloxone kits will be available to Pennsylvanians at specific locations across the State Thursday.

The Governor's office held a news conference at the Dauphin County State Health Center to introduce Stop Overdoses in PA: Get Help Now Week. Governor Tom Wolf made it very clear it’s not a cure to the opioid epidemic, but a first step to treatment.

Equipped with step-by-step instructions and two doses that are administered through the nose, the free kits can be found at any of the 80 health centers participating across the Commonwealth. The General Assembly appropriated  $5,000,000 to make the program happen.

“The idea is to make this as available as possible,” Governor Wolf, said.

Since November 2014, more than 20,000 people have been revived with naloxone by emergency responders in Pennsylvania, according to the Governor's office.

“The opioid crisis is the worst public health crisis we’ve seen in recent years,” Ray Barishansky, the Incident Commander at the Opioid Operational Command Center, said.

Right now there's a standing order, or a prescription written for the general public, so anyone can get naloxone.

“This is a big deal,” Governor Wolf said. “Naloxone is, I want to make sure everyone understands this, it’s not a cure for substance abuse disorder. the cure is treatment. It’s a chronic disease. And someone who suffers from substance use disorder is going to be facing this for the rest of her or his life. But you have to be alive to be in treatment, and naloxone is the first step.”

Even though it's available to anyone who needs it, Wolfe said part of the problem has always been the cost.

“I think around the country one of the concerns about naloxone is its price. On Thursday it will be free,” Wolf said.