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Review Expiration Date of Prescriptions, Lifesaving Overdose-Reversal Drug

By Commonwealth of PA - Governors Office

Review Expiration Date of Prescriptions, Lifesaving Overdose-Reversal Drug

Harrisburg, PA –  The Wolf Administration is encouraging Pennsylvanians to review the expiration date of their prescription medications, including NARCAN, a brand of the lifesaving overdose-reversal drug naloxone. Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the extension of the shelf life of NARCAN Nasal Spray from 24 months to 36 months.

“We are committed to ensuring that naloxone is widely available to help those with the disease of addiction,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Naloxone has one role, and that is to save someone who is suffering from an overdose. It is essential that every Pennsylvanian consider obtaining naloxone to help save a life.”

Since 2014, Dr. Levine has signed standing orders related to naloxone for the public, first responders and most recently a standing order for community organizations to distribute naloxone through mail order. Additionally, the Wolf Administration has sponsored two public giveaway events as part of Stop Overdose in Pennsylvania: Get Help Now week, where nearly 10,000 kits of naloxone were distributed.

“Naloxone has been a key component of battling the opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania,” said Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Jen Smith. “The Wolf Administration has worked hard to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have access to naloxone, are trained to safely administer the drug and potentially save a life.”

Launched in November 2017, the Naloxone for First Responders Program provides NARCAN to priority first responder groups across the Commonwealth utilizing a network of Centralized Coordinating Entities (CCEs). Since inception, CCEs have distributed more than 67,000 kits of NARCAN to first responder groups, resulting in more than 15,463 reported overdose reversals to date.

“The news that the FDA has approved NARCAN’s shelf-life is most welcome, as it ensures that the naloxone that we have already distributed can be relied upon to combat overdoses for an additional year,” said Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency Executive Director Michael Pennington.

The Opioid Command Center, established in January 2018 when Gov. Wolf signed the first opioid disaster declaration, continues to meet each week to discuss the opioid crisis. The command center is staffed by personnel from 17 state agencies, spearheaded by the departments of Health and Drug and Alcohol Programs.

Earlier this month, the Opioid Command Center released its strategic plan, highlighting accomplishments to date and providing a roadmap for the continued work to help those with substance use disorder. The plan, available here, includes five goal areas: prevention, rescue, treatment, recovery and sustainability.

Efforts over the past several years, working with state agencies, local, regional and federal officials, have resulted in significant action to address the opioid crisis.

More information on the opioid crisis can be found on the Department of Health’s website at health.pa.gov