Pennsylvania Unveils PA Overdose Prevention Program and First Responders Naloxone Expansion

Naloxone Kit© NewGig86 from Getty Images / Canva

PENNSYLVANIA — The Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) and the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) recently held a webinar discussing the Naloxone for First Responders Program (NFRP). Over 24,000 overdose reversals have been achieved using NFRP-purchased naloxone. The upcoming launch of the PA Overdose Prevention Program was also discussed. PCCD Executive Director Mike Pennington expressed satisfaction with the positive impact of the NFRP but emphasized the need to continue expanding resources, including other harm reduction supplies.

“We’re very happy with the positive impact that the Naloxone for First Responders Program has in communities across the Commonwealth,” said PCCD Executive Director Mike Pennington. “However, our work is far from over. We’re looking forward to building on this progress with the PA Overdose Prevention Program as we expand the resources we’re currently offering, including other harm reduction supplies.”

The webinar had more than 380 attendees, spanning across almost all Pennsylvania counties and included individuals from community-based organizations, drug and alcohol treatment facilities, recovery community organizations, single county authorities, educational institutions healthcare facilities, and more. In addition to highlighting the impact of the NFRP and announcing the launch of the PA Overdose Prevention Program, the webinar included valuable information from Pennsylvania Harm Reduction Network and Prevention Point Pittsburgh related to the use of drug testing strips and information on the different naloxone formulations.

“We must continue to expand access to and provide equitable resources as we continue to address the overdose crisis in Pennsylvania,” said DDAP Secretary Dr. Latika Davis-Jones. “An overdose can happen anytime, anywhere – preparation is key. This is an opportunity to get naloxone and drug testing tools into more hands and we’re proud to partner with PCCD in this effort. I encourage individuals and organizations to take advantage of this new program.”

In November 2017, PCCD, in partnership with DDAP and the Department of Health (DOH), launched the NFRP. The program provided life-saving intranasal naloxone at no cost for first responder groups through regional and statewide distribution networks. A wide range of community-based organizations, agencies, and other entities were designated as eligible first responder groups because they often arrive at the scene of an overdose before medical personnel, making them critical in administering naloxone promptly and potentially saving lives. Some key successes of the NFRP since 2017 include:

  • More than 24,000 overdose reversals have been reported using NFRP-purchased naloxone.
  • More than 654,700 kits, or roughly 1,309,500 doses, of intranasal naloxone was purchased through the program.
  • More than 50 percent of the total naloxone kits distributed are going directly to community-based groups including harm reduction organizations.
  • Significantly increased the scale of its purchasing and distribution activities during the COVID-19 epidemic by creating a statewide allocation portal.

To build on the progress and impact of the NFRP, the Commonwealth announced the launch of the PA Overdose Prevention Program. This new initiative will serve as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for individuals and organizations seeking multiple formulations of naloxone and related harm reduction supplies, including fentanyl and xylazine test strips. It will also serve as a clearinghouse for information, training, and technical assistance to help groups involved in harm reduction work and others on the ‘front lines’ of Pennsylvania’s evolving overdose crisis.

Like the NFRP, the PA Overdose Prevention Program will continue to emphasize statewide and regional ‘saturation’ and accessibility, with a focus on getting naloxone and harm reduction supplies into the hands of people who use drugs and those that serve and support them.

Individuals seeking substance use disorder treatment or recovery resources for themselves or a loved one can be connected to local resources by visiting treatmentatlas.orgor by calling the toll-free PA Get Help Now helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

To learn more about the naloxone distribution activities, including accessing quarterly distribution and overdose reversal data reported to PCCD from CCEs, using the interactive NFRP Tableau Dashboard.

Organizations can request a supply of naloxone and/or drug checking strips by completing the PA Overdose Prevention Program Request Form. More information about the PA Overdose Prevention Program can be found on the PCCD website.

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