SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — We know opioid addiction is a disease that’s not easily cured a disease that claims roughly 14 lives in Pennsylvania every day. One of the tools used to fight deadly opioid overdoses is Naloxone.
Naloxone, also known as the nasal spray Narcan, rapidly reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.
A group that formed in 2017 has been working to get Narcan into the hands of people who can save lives.
Carina Havenstrite says, “Each recovery kit contains a first aid kit.”
But besides bandages and antiseptic inside the kits distributed by the Lackawanna Recovery Coalition is something credited with saving countless lives.
Carina Havenstrite says, “So each box has two doses.”
The intranasal form of naloxone called Narcan can be administered on the scene of an opioid overdose to revive the individual and save their life.
In 2017 when the Lackawanna Recovery Coalition formed, the goal was to get Narcan exclusively into the hands of first responders.
“So that was why we reached out to get grant funding to really try to push that community-based distribution,” stated Carina Havenstrite, program manager at the Lackawanna County D.A.’s Office.
The effort has evolved into providing Lackawanna County families, businesses, and its ten school districts with the rapid opioid overdose reversal medication.
“Anytime you can help someone in need, I think you do that, especially as a school district or a government agency,” explained Paul Brennan, superintendent of Riverside School District.
Riverside School District has Narcan in its high school and elementary schools.
“You know, why would you want it in an elementary school but we get adult visitors all the time that where we might have to take action and it might save someone’s life,” stated Brennan.
“We know people who have been revived from Narcan,” said Mark Powell — Lackawanna County District Attorney.
Lackawanna County District Attorney Mark Powell knows of many instances when administering that life-saving dose of Narcan was administered by someone who didn’t show up in an ambulance.
“Family members are often there before even first responders. We had a great program for first responders. We continue to support that but family members are usually first on the scene,” explained Powell.
Lackawanna Recovery Coalition has reached a milestone with its Narcan distribution. Earlier this month, it handed out its 1,000 Narcan Emergency Kit during what was billed as Celebration of Recovery in downtown Scranton.
“It saves people’s lives and we are seeing that so I said I think it’s important for everyone to carry Narcan,” said Havenstrite.
Lackawanna recovery coalition has expanded its life-saving effort to include the naloxone by mail program. To learn more about the program and the successful coalition behind it head to the Lackawanna County Recovery Coalition website.