Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced on Wednesday, Oct. 28, the approval of a standing order that would increase the availability of heroin overdose antidote Naloxone throughout the state.
Together with physician general Dr Rachel Levine, Wolf stood at the Pennsylvania Medical Society and signed the order, hoping to combat opioid overdose and empower families and patients affected by heroin addiction.
By signing the standing order, Levine has also made a statewide prescription of Naloxone for all Pennsylvanians.
"Making it possible for all Pennsylvania residents to access the life-saving drug naloxone is a huge victory in our battle against drug overdose deaths in the commonwealth," said Levine. She added that she is proud to sign the standing order and persists to support the administration in protecting Pennsylvania residents, who are most at risk. Such forward-thinking intervention provides people with the help they need to keep families and communities intact.
Wolf said the move is the next step in combating addiction and "overdose epidemic" throughout the state. He encouraged everyone to do all they can to support affected families experiencing the effects of addiction by saying, "I am proud to take this action with my cabinet members today."
Pennsylvania has been put under public health crisis due to the increased rates of heroin addiction and illicit drug abuse. As per estimates, about one in four families suffer from the side effects of addiction. The leading cause of accidental deaths in the state is said to be heroin overdose and opioid overdose, claiming the lives of more people compared to those involved in deadly vehicle accidents. In 2014, about 2,400 residents succumb to death due to drug overdose.
Department of Health Secretary Dr. Karen Murphy said that her team's objective is to guarantee that life-saving tools such as Naloxone are available to every resident of Pennsylvania. Providing necessary information regarding the administration of the drug during emergency cases could help curb the rising rates of deaths due to opioid abuse.
In Wolf's state budget for 2015-2016, he proposed $7.5 million worth of funds to be used in providing Naloxone to the police and giving enhanced treatment choices for the people.
Wolf said that various state departments including health care teams, law enforcement agencies and county offices are working hard to fight heroin overdose. "My greatest hope is that today's action will continue to aid these statewide efforts to overcome the addiction and overdose crisis in Pennsylvania," he closed.