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New law allows Naloxone to be given by PA firefighters

October 2, 2014
FROM:     Don Konkle, Executive Director, PFESI
RE:          Governor Corbett Signs Life-Saving Legislation, Approves Recommendations to Combat Pennsylvania's Heroin and Opioid Crisis

HARRISBURG, PA - Gov. Tom Corbett, R-Pa., issued the following news release:

Governor Tom Corbett was joined today by Senator Dominic Pileggi (R-Delaware) on the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown campus to sign into law life-saving legislation that will help to reverse heroin overdoses in Pennsylvania. At the event, he also approved recommendations from a working group established in May that will improve the state's response to the growing heroin and opioid addiction and overdose crisis.

Opioids are a commonly prescribed prescription drug that is highly addictive even when taken as prescribed. Studies have shown that approximately 80 percent of heroin users began their addiction with prescription opioids. Between 2009 and 2013, nearly 3,000 heroin-related overdose deaths were identified by county coroners in Pennsylvania.

"As a former prosecutor, I've seen opioid addiction and overdoses ruin people's lives and tear families apart, which is why these actions are absolutely critical to stop the escalating opioid problem statewide," Gov. Corbett said. "The bill I am signing today will save lives and ensure those who help someone in need aren't punished for doing so. I applaud Senator Pileggi for his work on Senate Bill 1164."

Senate Bill 1164 will provide legal protections for witnesses, or Good Samaritans, seeking medical help at the scene of an overdose. In addition, it allows Naloxone to be prescribed to a third party, such as a friend or family member, and administered by law enforcement and firefighters.

In May, Governor Corbett tasked the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs to lead a Heroin and Other Opioids Workgroup with other state agencies in order to improve the state's response to heroin and other opioid use and overdose.

"I would like to thank Secretary Tennis, committee members and stakeholders for sharing their input during this process and for providing a comprehensive approach to a very complex problem," Gov. Corbett said.

Governor Corbett approved the workgroup recommendations that provide effective solutions to help address the heroin and opioid problem while efficiently using taxpayer dollars. It includes the expansion of current initiatives, collaboration between both public and private sectors and working with our state lawmakers on life-saving legislation. The workgroup identified five categories containing a total of 13 recommendations which include: Safe and Effective Use of Prescription Opioids

Guaranteed cash flow during transition.