Pa. State Police Will Carry Anti-Overdose Drug

“Pennsylvanians are dying every day from drug overdose."

Gov. Tom Wolf formally announced today that Pennsylvania State Police will start carrying a drug that helps reverse heroin overdoses.

Naloxone — also known as Narcan — will be carried in hopes of reversing an ugly trend: Heroin and opioid overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in Pennsylvania, reportedly killing as many as 2,400 people in the state in 2013.

“The Pennsylvania State Police is working together with the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs and other partner agencies to provide training and distribute this life-saving drug to our troopers statewide, Pennsylvania State Police Acting Commissioner Marcus L. Brown said in a statement. “At times, our troopers may be first on the scene of an overdose and this gives them another tool to deal with the emergencies they encounter.”

Wolf wrote an op-ed for PennLive explaining his decision:

A government that works protects and helps its most vulnerable. Across the country, law enforcement, emergency medical professionals and first responders are now carrying naloxone, a life-saving medicine that reverses opioid overdoses. I’m proud to announce that for the first time, the Pennsylvania State Police will carry naloxone kits in their patrol cars and be able to administer the drug through a nasal spray.

NBC 10:

Daniel Raymond, the policy director of the Harm Reduction Coalition in New York, hailed the Pennsylvania plan as a model for the nearly 30 states that have naloxone programs.

“It’s a bold leadership move,” Raymond said. “Ultimately, it’s going to save lives.”

Alice Bell of Prevention Point Pittsburgh, which provides a needle-exchange program and other health services for injection drug users, said the plan would make it easier for friends and relatives, who are most likely to be with someone who overdoses, to obtain naloxone.

“I think it’s going to make a huge difference,” Bell said. “This can save a lot of lives.”