May 31, 2016
Narcan, the heroin antidote, will be available at Montgomery County's three health centers, starting Wednesday.
The Montgomery County Health Department (MCHD), in partnership with the Montgomery County Office of Drug and Alcohol
Programs, said it will make Narcan nasal spray kits (two single units) available at the following centers: the Norristown Health Center, Montgomery County Human Services Center, 1430 DeKalb St., Norristown; the Willow Grove Health Center, Montgomery County Eastern Court House Annex, 102 York Road, Suite 401, Willow Grove; and the Pottstown Health Center 364 King St., Pottstown.
The antidote will be dispensed to persons at risk of experiencing an opiate-related overdose; or to a family member, friend, or other person in a position to assist an individual at risk of experiencing an opiate-related overdose.
The kits will be available for eligible residents without insurance, or to residents with a financial hardship that renders them unable to afford the co-pay at a participating pharmacy.
Opiate overdose deaths continue to be a major public health problem in the United States, contributing significantly to accidental deaths among those who misuse heroin and prescription opioids.
According to a 2015 report, Pennsylvania ranked ninth in the country in drug overdose deaths (18.9 per 100,000 people), and drug overdoses were also reported as the leading cause of injury. Deaths due to opiates in Montgomery County increased by 72 percent from 2009 and 2014. Just over half (51 percent) were attributed to heroin.
Police officers in 26 of 49 Montgomery County departments carry Naloxone while on duty – a 37 percent increase from 2015. Since the program started in mid-2015, there have been 41 documented saves across the county (19 in 2015; 22 in 2016), the health department said.
Two dozen independently owned pharmacies have dispensed 278 Naloxone kits to the general public to date under the County Standing Order. Five chain pharmacies are also dispensing Naloxone using a standing order by the Pennsylvania physician general.