Gov. Wolf encourages schools to get heroin antidote

High rates of heroin addiction and opioid overdose continue to rise in Pennsylvania.

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Pittsburgh Public Schools spokeswoman, Ebony Pugh, explains that their district do not now stock naloxone but is on board in following the directive.

Hermanie is a small rural school district of about 2,200 students in the southwestern corner of the state.

“In light of this tragic fact, we would encourage any person or entity in a position to help individuals who are vulnerable to an overdose to obtain naloxone”, said Wolf. But to make sure schools were aware of this, Wolf sent a letter to superintendents at all 500 school districts, describing schools’ legal ability to store and administer the live-saving medication in accordance with Act 139, which was passed into law in 2014.

The letter was signed by Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy, Secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Gary Tennis and Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera.

According to a memo from Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton and police services commander Marlene Radzik, drug overdose is a leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States and deaths due to opioid overdose have increased dramatically in Washtenaw County, with 67 area residents dying from opioid overdoses in 2014 and 16 during the first quarter of 2015.

Washtenaw County Sheriff’s deputies only began training to use Naloxone to counteract heroin overdoses in August and the drug has already saved two lives in the region. “Providing access to naloxone to schools may prevent an unnecessary loss of life”.

They attempted to get permission from the Pennsylvania departments of drug and alcohol programs, of education and of health.

It’s administered with a couple squirts up the nose of the drug user.

Deputy Sean Urban was dispatched to the scene of a possible overdose September 12 and also administered Naloxone to a 28-year-old man who had overdosed on an opioid. It can be injected or inhaled and only takes a few minutes to work. An opioid includes both prescription painkillers (Percocet, OxyContin, Oxycodone, Vicodin, Morphine, Fentanyl, etc.) and heroin.

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Rhode Island law states that no one can be held liable for administering the antidote or be punished for refusing training.

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