HONESDALE—The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) will be distributing free naloxone to those in need on Thursday, December 13, between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. at the state health center located at 615 Erie Street in Honesdale.

Naloxone is a rescue drug used to reverse the cognitive and respiratory shutdown caused by overdosing on opioids.

A recognizable name brand for naloxone is Narcan.

DOH Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine stated in a press release, “Naloxone has one function: to reverse the effects of opioids on the brain and respiratory system and save someone’s life.

“It is impossible to get someone in to treatment who is dead. Every Pennsylvanian has a role to play as a potential first responder and can save a life by having naloxone on hand and using it if they come across someone who has overdosed.”

According to the release, “Since 2014, more than 20,000 people have been revived with naloxone by police officers and EMS providers in Pennsylvania.”

The Wayne County Heroin Prevention Task Force works at a local level to distribute naloxone in the form of Narcan recovery kits, consisting of two doses, a mouth guard for CPR breathing and other useful rescue tools to help an overdose victim while EMS responders are in route.

As of October, the group had distributed over 300 rescue kits into the community.

Back in April of this year, Levine issued a standing order prescription for naloxone to make its purchase from Pennsylvania pharmacies easier for those who need it.

As quoted in a release, Pennsylvania Drug and Alcohol Secretary Jen Smith stated, “One of the biggest misconceptions of individuals battling substance use disorder is that they want to die, when the vast majority of overdose deaths are accidental.”

In October of this year, the Rotary Club of Hamlin and Lake Ariel hosted an informative public forum on local heroin and opioid abuse.

From the forum, Wayne County Coroner Edward Howell noted the number of opioid-related deaths are increasing each year.

By October 2018, there were 11 confirmed heroin and opioid overdose deaths in Wayne County.

Addiction recovery services are available from the Wayne County Drug & Alcohol Commission (D&A).

As noted by D&A Director Jeffrey Zerechak at the aforementioned meeting, it functions as a central hub connecting those in need with appropriate services to help them overcome their addiction.

The office is located at 318 Tenth Street, Honesdale and is open form 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

D&A is available by phone at 570-253-6022.