Naloxone, a nasal spray developed as an antidote for opioid overdose, will soon become available to Pennsylvania first responders thanks to support and outreach efforts sponsored by Philadelphia-based managed care provider AmeriHealth Caritas.
“We are in the midst of an opioid and substance abuse epidemic that is devastating families in Pennsylvania and across the United States,” AmeriHealth Caritas Chairman and CEO Paul Tufano said. “As part of our commitment to address opioid use disorders, our goal is … to expand access to critical tools like naloxone, seeking to save as many lives as possible.”
AmeriHealth Caritas made a $50,000 donation directly to the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Institute, which in turn will allot funding to counties for approximately 1,300 treatment doses. PDAI is affiliated with the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, whose president John Adams commended AmeriHealth Caritas for its contribution.
“Pennsylvania police officers have saved thousands of lives by administering naloxone to overdose victims,” Adams, who also serves as the Berks County district attorney, said. “Our members appreciate AmeriHealth Caritas’ commitment to this important public health and safety initiative.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nation is in the throes of the most severe opioid epidemic in U.S. history. CDC officials said fatalities from prescription opioid abuse have increased fourfold since 1999.