CLEARFIELD – Naloxone kits were distributed free of charge Thursday to Pennsylvanians. It was part of the Wolf Administration’s ongoing effort to reduce overdoses and encourage people to seek treatment.
Naloxone is a medication designed to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose. It is an opioid antagonist, meaning that it binds to opioid receptors and can reverse and block the effects of other opioids.
It can very quickly restore normal respiration to a person whose breathing has slowed or stopped as a result of overdosing with heroin or prescription opioid pain medications.
According to GANT News partner WJAC-TV, more than a dozen people visited the Clearfield County Health Center, which ran out of its supply of free Naloxone kits, on Thursday.
On-site people viewed a training video on how to administer the medication. Afterward, they received a box containing two doses of the Narcan nasal spray.
“I am a nurse. I’ve worked in drug and alcohol rehab, and we use the same Naloxone,” explained Carrissa Trump, adding. “I think it’s life-saving … that they’re giving it away.”
Amy Gardner, who works with mental health patients concurs, and feels it’s great to have the medication on-hand when traveling from client-to-client.
“I’ve seen first-hand the affects that drugs have on people …. and how it’s torn families apart,” Gardner said. “I really believe this is something that might aid in their recovery.”
Clearfield Emergency Medical Services Executive Director Terry Wigfield has witnessed overdoses daily, and said their occurrence has increased in recent years.
“I was throwing away more Narcan than I was using, and now we can hardly keep it in stock,” he said. Clearfield EMS purchases its medication supply for its ambulances, including Narcan.
However, Wigfield doesn’t believe a Naloxone kit giveaway will completely overcome the current drug epidemic.
“If it saves someone’s life, that is great. That’s what we are here for: to save lives,” he said, “but I just don’t think it’s going to solve the problem.”
State officials have reported that over the past four years, more than 20,000 Pennsylvanians have been revived with Naloxone.
With those odds, it’s better to be safe than sorry. “You could be driving down the street and someone could need it. You could be there to help save their life,” said Trump.