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Although sometimes prescribed by doctors, opioids can be highly addictive.

For those who do not get opioid treatment in Pennsylvania soon enough, the results may even be fatal. Opioid overdoses are common, but there are ways to combat it. Naloxone is a life-saving drug that is meant to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, and Pennsylvania has now taken action to make this drug more accessible for its residents.

Pennsylvania Naloxone Standing Order Update

On August 18, 2020, lawmakers announced an update to the naloxone standing order in Pennsylvania after it was signed by Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine. This new revision allows community-based organizations to send naloxone in the mail to residents in need.

Like the rest of the country, Pennsylvania was hit hard by the opioid epidemic. In 2018 alone, 65% of drug overdose deaths in the state involved opioids for a total of 2,866 deaths. In the year 2000, there were fewer than 500 deaths of the same kind.1 Although people are encouraged to go to a drug rehab in Pennsylvania for help, not everyone is so willing. Due to the staggering rise in opioids overdose deaths, Pennsylvania created a standing order in 2016 that allowed residents in need to receive naloxone at a pharmacy. In 2018, the state also began allowing the distribution of free naloxone kits at public events. Now, amid a global pandemic, getting naloxone to Pennsylvanians in need has proven more challenging.

With the current update, community-based groups can mail naloxone in Pennsylvania rather than having to come face-to-face with residents. While free or inexpensive naloxone is still available at pharmacies throughout the state for those with insurance, sending naloxone in the mail decreases physical contact and may also help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. This updated Pennsylvanian naloxone standing order comes at a pivotal time. More than 40 states have reported an increase in opioid-related overdoses since the coronavirus pandemic began.2 In several counties in Pennsylvania in particular, the number of drug overdose deaths started declining for the first time in recent years, but with COVID-19, these numbers have seen an uptick and may reach record highs by the end of the year.3 Lawmakers hope that by allowing community groups to mail naloxone in Pennsylvania, more people in need will be able to get their hands on this life-saving drug, and the number of opioid overdose deaths will once again start trending downward.

As an inpatient detox center in PA, we have seen firsthand the harmful effects of the opioid epidemic on the state. But there is hope. Instead of just avoiding a fatality with naloxone, you or your loved one could get the help you need to overcome your addiction once and for all.

Whether you need help for yourself or a loved one, act now. Contact us today at Clearbrook Treatment Centers to learn more by calling 570-536-9621.

 

Sources:

  1. NIH- Pennsylvania: Opioid-Involved Deaths and Related Harms
  2. AMA- Issue brief: Reports of increases in opioid-related overdose and other concerns during COVID pandemic
  3. The Appeal- IN PENNSYLVANIA, OVERDOSE DEATHS WERE FALLING. THEN COVID-19 HIT.
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