SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – We’ve heard so much about the opioid epidemic in recent years that many may consider addiction to be the new normal. Rather than accept that perception, Pennsylvania officials are fighting back. Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller explains how a state-funded handout is designed to save lives and get more addicts into treatment.
The Wright Center for Community Health Addiction Case Manager Carlie Kropp showed up at the State Health Center in downtown Scranton on Wednesday to receive an invaluable medication. She’s previously used it to revive people who overdosed on opioids.
“It’s obviously a little bit of panic but I mean the Narcan is great medicine,” said Ms. Kropp.
The Wolf Administration funded a free Narcan or naloxone distribution day as part of Stop Overdoses in PA: Get Help Now Week. 95 locations statewide are participating. PA Department of Health Nurse Jennifer Quinn, RN had about 200 doses to distribute at the Scranton site or nearly twice as much as a distribution there in December.
“We’re here to help you. This isn’t something you should be ashamed of. This isn’t something that, you know, we’re not recognizing or you know. We know that it’s a huge problem,” she said.
Ryan Pollock recognizes that, too. At St. Francis Commons in Scranton, he works with homeless veterans including some with opioid addiction.
“We felt that it was imperative as a program, you know, dealing with individuals that are in recovery to have the Narcan available in the event of, you know, an accidental overdose,” he said.
The desire to have Narcan available extends beyond facilities like St. Francis Commons. Quinn says she’s received requests to also have the life-saving drug on hand in local schools. Although separate distributions are held for school districts, teachers, nurses and other school employees can obtain the free Narcan at this event.
Ms. Quinn said, “It is scary to know that this is in our community. It’s within our children, within our schools. It’s here and we have to be prepared.”
Ms. Kropp added, “It saves lives. It’s really important. It’s free so we should get it out into the community as much as we can.”