Opioid overdose reversals using naloxone more than doubled in Centre County over the last three months of 2017.
Naloxone is a drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose and can be administered with an injection or a nasal spray. The drug does not provide a high of any type and has no side effects.
The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs regularly releases naloxone administration data.
In September, the numbers showed that there were 10 opioid reversals in Centre County since first responders statewide began carrying the drug in 2014. But in December, that number climbed to 23.
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During the same time period, state numbers also rose. In September, police successfully administered naloxone just less than 4,000 times statewide. In December, it was used almost 6,000 times.
The numbers include municipal departments and state police troops, but municipal police account for the vast majority of successful administrations. The state police reported in September 110 reversals since troopers began carrying the drug in 2015 and an increase of just 11 in December.
The increase in successful administration numbers comes on the heels of Gov. Tom Wolf announcing in October that the state budget includes $5 million to provide 60,000 naloxone kits available to first responders in all 67 counties.
In addition to the state police and the Centre County Sheriff’s Department, Bellefonte, State College, Ferguson Township, Spring Township and Patton Township police departments carry naloxone.
The only department in the county that does not carry the drug is the Penn State police, but according to Chief Keith Morris the officers are trained and the department is hoping to carry the drug in the “next couple of months.”
The University Park police department is part of a centralized department that includes Penn State’s 24 branch campuses, and the logistics of implementing the availability of the drug to all officers is ongoing, Morris said.
Morris said he is unaware of any overdoses at University Park or any of the branch campuses that could have been reversed if Penn State police carried the drug.
Delaware County has the largest number of naloxone administrations with almost 1,000, followed by Allegheny County with just more than 600. Delaware County’s number almost doubled over the three-month period while Allegheny County’s almost tripled.