HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 24, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine
"A significant part of fighting the opioid epidemic is making sure that naloxone is available to EMS providers and first responders across the commonwealth," Dr. Levine said. "Governor Wolf has proposed $10 million in next year's budget to get more naloxone into the hands of first responders like South Central EMS, who not only have saved so many lives using naloxone, but have taken a real leadership role in training others how to use naloxone as well."
South Central EMS works with Dauphin County to provide services, including the provision of naloxone and the transport of and collaboration with patients to area hospitals. By raising awareness about naloxone, South Central EMS hopes to save as many lives as possible while also removing the negative stigma that is often attached to victims of overdoses.
"We appreciate the work by South Central and other EMS providers to reverse overdoses and help save the lives of Pennsylvanians," said Acting Secretary Smith. "We know that naloxone works and I want to thank Mark McCullough for standing up today to share with us the story of how his overdose was reversed, and the journey he took to enter treatment and become a recovery specialist to help save the lives of others."
McCullough, who formerly suffered from the disease of addiction, overdosed on heroin in 2013. After being revived by an EMS provider with naloxone, he began the long road of recovery. Today, he works as a recovery specialist at the RASE Project to help others who currently struggle with substance use disorder as he did.
After a patient is revived from an overdose with naloxone, he or she is taken to an emergency room for proper treatment and care. From the emergency room, patients go through a process called a warm handoff in order to get them directly into a recovery program to treat the disease of addiction.
"The warm handoff program is crucial to make sure survivors of overdoses get the support they need for recovery," Dr. Levine said. "But recovery can't happen if the patient doesn't survive the overdose in the first place. That's why naloxone is such an important tool for first responders and the general public."
The Wolf Administration holds the fight against heroin and prescription opioids as a top priority. In order to continue to battle against the opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania, Governor Wolf included the following proposals in his 2017-18 budget:
Some of the administration's other initiatives to fight the opioid epidemic include:
If you or someone you know is suffering from the disease of addiction, call 1-800-662-HELP or visit www.pa.gov/opioids for treatment options. For more information on the fight against opioid abuse in Pennsylvania, visit the Department of Health website at www.health.pa.gov or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
MEDIA CONTACTS: April Hutcheson, DOH, 717-787-1783 or [email protected] Carol Gifford, DDAP, 717-547-3314
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/wolf-administration-officials-overdose-survivor-commend-pennsylvania-ems-providers-for-using-narcan-to-save-lives-300413384.html
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health; Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs
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