Penn State police will start carrying naloxone on Friday.
That means that all Centre County paramedics and each of the law enforcement agencies in the county — the sheriff’s department, state police at Rockview and Philipsburg and State College, Bellefonte, Spring Township, Ferguson Township and Patton Township police — will now have access to the life-saving drug.
Naloxone is a medication that can temporarily reverse an overdose caused by an opioid drug, according to the state Department of Health. In addition, it doesn’t offer a “high,” and it’s not addictive.
“Given the rise in incidents of heroin and opiate abuse and fatal overdoses throughout the commonwealth and the U.S., we believe it is in the best interest of our campus community for our emergency responders to be prepared and equipped to save lives,” Charlie Noffsinger, assistant vice president for University Police and Public Safety, said in a Penn State news release. “Providing these tools, protocols and training to our officers helps further our mission to protect the community.”
Since police officers began carrying naloxone, they have participated in 6,456 successful overdose reversals in the state, according to the Pa. Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. In Centre County, there have been 23 law-enforcement-involved incidents.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids were involved in 42,249 deaths in 2016 in the United States.
Pennsylvania had the fourth-highest rate of death due to drug overdose in 2016, with 37.9 per 100,000 people, according to the CDC.