Pennsylvania to provide free naloxone to airports in effort to save lives during overdose

Pennsylvania to provide free naloxone to airports in effort to save lives during overdose

Naloxone will be provided free of charge to Pennsylvania airports as part of an effort by the Wolf administration to increase medication access in public venues and decrease the number of opioid overdoses facing the state.

“A key component to decreasing the number of overdose deaths in Pennsylvania is widely distributing naloxone in communities and public venues,” Jennifer Smith, Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary, said. “When dealing with an epidemic like the opioid crisis, life-saving medication should be a part of every first aid kit and readily available. We encourage everyone – business owners, members of the general public, loved ones affected by substance use disorder, and individuals suffering from the disease – to equip themselves to respond in an emergency.”

Airports such as Harrisburg International, Philadelphia International, Pittsburgh International, Williamsport Regional, Wilkes-Barre Scranton International, University Park Airport and Lancaster Airport will begin storing the naloxone with their AED machines and first aid kits. All airport personnel will be trained to both carry and administer Narcan to those in need.

“Naloxone is a life-saving medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose,” Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health, said. “Since 2018, we have provided free naloxone kits to more than 14,000 Pennsylvanians- that means 14,000 lives can be potentially saved. We know that Pennsylvanians are dedicated to helping to save lives of not only their loved ones but also anyone who has overdosed.”

Naloxone distribution is being bankrolled by $5.4 million in federal funding, with expansion driven by state-pushed initiatives. It is already available in most of Pennsylvania’s pharmacies, provided without hold-up to those in need under a blanket standing order prescription issued by Levine. Many public and private insurances alike cover the drug to make it available for free or low cost.