Naloxone partnering not a cure all, but a practical initiative

The Lycoming County Commissioners, Susquehanna Region EMS, many local police departments and the district attorney’s office entered into an important partnership recently.

They agreed to provide local law enforcement agencies with naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug.

The costs of the drug will be paid for with drug forfeiture money from the district attorney’s office, which will be reimbursed through a grant from the state District Attorneys Association. There is no cost to the county and if the grant funding runs out, the costs will continue to be paid with drug forfeiture money.

Agencies receiving the opioid overdose reversal drug must provide the district attorney’s office with proof of training to administer the drug and must create written policies. The district attorney’s office will keep records of the distribution and use of the naloxone.

The Williamsport, South Williamsport, Old Lycoming Township, Hughesville, Tiadaghton Regional and county sheriff’s department and all sheriff’s detectives are already volunteering to participate in the program. They will join the state police and Pennsylvania College of Technology police, who have been carrying naloxone for some time with their own programs.

Other agencies in the county that wish to participate may join at any time.

We hope that list of those in the program eventually will include all the region’s police departments.

We don’t know how many people this will save from a fatal overdose. But the track record of the anti-overdose drug suggests the number will be significant.

Of course, it’s sobering the anti-overdose drug is necessary. It’s an acknowledgement of how serious the opioid epidemic is in our region.

And naloxone does not cure the epidemic. Education and fundamental changes in lifestyles are the overriding needs to ending the epidemic.

But the epidemic is here and must be dealt with. Hope springs eternal that those whose lives are saved will experience that kind of epiphany that brings with it the strength to beat the odds and overcome drug addiction.