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Updates to PA Naloxone Standing Order to Decrease Overdose Deaths

by Pennsylvania Department of Health

Updates to PA Naloxone Standing Order to Decrease Overdose Deaths

The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) and the Department of Health (DOH) joined the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association at Hershey Pharmacy to discuss updates to the Naloxone Standing Order and encourage pharmacies to keep a variety of naloxone formulations on hand for the public.

“A key component to decreasing overdose deaths is getting naloxone into all communities across the state,” said DDAP Special Assistant Steve Ross. “Every Pennsylvanian can access naloxone through their local pharmacy using the naloxone standing order. By adding different forms of naloxone to the standing order and encouraging availability of these products at pharmacies across the commonwealth, we’re giving Pennsylvanians additional resources for combatting the increase in fentanyl.”

Naloxone is a medication approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose by quickly restoring breathing to a person if their breathing has slowed or stopped. Naloxone can be administered by individuals with or without medical training to help reduce opioid overdose deaths. The DOH has resources available to educate people to use the naloxone products available to save lives.

The Wolf Administration instituted the first standing orders allowing the general public and first responders to obtain naloxone from their local pharmacy. In 2022 the standing order expanded to include an eight milligram naloxone nasal spray, ZIMHI, a 5 milligram (mg) intra-muscular injection device, and most recently, a non-prefilled syringe option with two single-dose vials of naloxone that is injectable.

“Naloxone is now available in all four forms, including the most cost-effective non-prefilled syringe and vial version,” said Acting Secretary of Health and Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson. “I want to make it easy for pharmacies to keep naloxone on hand and to provide residents with the option they feel most comfortable using to save a life.”

Pennsylvania also partners with Prevention Point Pittsburgh and NEXT Distro to support a statewide mail-based naloxone program for Pennsylvania residents to request and receive naloxone for free by mail. In August 2022, the Wolf Administration announced that 10,000 requests for naloxone have been filled through the mail-based program, providing almost 36,000 doses of naloxone to people in all 67 counties in Pennsylvania.

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s (PCCD) Naloxone for First Responders Program (NFRP) provides and distributes free naloxone to organizations and individuals who may encounter someone experiencing an overdose. Through this program since 2017, Centralized Coordinating Entities (CCEs) distributed 181,247 kits of Narcan and an additional 265,308 kits of Narcan directly to organizations serving high-need communities through its Statewide Portal. More than 22,815 overdose reversals have been reported using state-purchased Narcan.

Learn more about the Wolf Administration’s efforts in combatting the overdose crisis