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Norristown, PA (April 20, 2017) – Montgomery County EMS administered 847 does of naloxone in 2016 according to a presentation at today’s Montgomery County Board of Commissioners meeting, including 627 reversals or saves. Naloxone (also known as Narcan) is the life-saving overdose reversal drug. The Coroner’s office also reported drug–related deaths from 2015-2016 increased by more than 40 percent.
“Montgomery County is not immune to the growing national problem of opioid addiction,” said Commissioner Valerie Arkoosh, MD, MPH, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “Police and EMS on the front lines are doing their best to save lives, but far too many people are not surviving this epidemic. Tackling this challenge involves understanding substance use disorder as a chronic disease that requires prevention, intervention and treatment.”David Brown, Deputy Director-EMS Division of the County’s Department of Public Safety reported data on the administration of Naloxone and noted a 28 percent increase in EMS administrations from 2015. He also highlighted the fact that all police departments in Montgomery County are carrying or in-training to carry naloxone.In September 2014, the Montgomery County Overdose Task Force was established by then Commissioner Chair Josh Shapiro to address the issue of increased opioid deaths and provide recommendations on how the county could help combat the epidemic. Today, the Task Force is led by Chair Arkoosh, District Attorney Kevin Steele, and Abington Commissioner Lori Schreiber and is comprised of substance abuse and medical professionals, educators, law enforcement, and concerned citizens. The Task Force also brings together a working group of more than 10 county departments to provide a coordinated and comprehensive approach to fighting the opioid epidemic.
The Task Force set out a specific priority to ensure that Naloxone is available to those on the front lines of this epidemic. As of this year, the county has successfully engaged all local police forces in carrying Naloxone to administer to victims suffering from an overdose. Outreach efforts are now focusing on school districts and universities.“Naloxone is important because it saves lives – those suffering from the disease of addiction can’t get the help they need if they are dead on the streets. But we won’t be successful in combatting this epidemic if we don’t focus on prevention and treatment for those who need it,” added Arkoosh.Among the task-force efforts being led throughout the county:
Drug Take Back Day
Drug Treatment Courts
Connecting Those Suffering From Addiction to Treatment
Resources and more information about Montgomery County’s efforts to fight opioid addiction can be found at www.montcopa.org/overdoseprevention. The presentation given by Deputy Director Brown can be viewed online at www.montcopa.org/DocumentCenter/View/17476.