Pennsylvania police will carry life-saving opioid overdose antidote
“In October, my administration took the step of signing a statewide standing order for naloxone as part of our fight against the addiction and overdose epidemic in our state,” said Governor Wolf.
“Now, we are bringing that fight to the very steps of the Capitol with the ability for the Pennsylvania Capitol Police to now carry and administer this life-saving medication.”
The Pennsylvania Capitol Police are an accredited law enforcement agency with full arrest powers that investigates all reported crimes within its jurisdiction of state-owned properties and buildings in Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Scranton.
The force maintains a 24 hours a day and seven days a week presence in Harrisburg, where they also provide assistance to the city of Harrisburg Police Department and other surrounding local law enforcement agencies. The organization falls under the oversight of the Pennsylvania Department of General Services.
Governor Wolf was joined in the announcement by Secretary of General Services Curt Topper, Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy, Secretary of Drug and Alcohol Programs Gary Tennis, Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency Chairman Josh Shapiro, Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine, and Pennsylvania Capitol Police Deputy Superintendent Kevin Brown.
According to the PA Capitol Police, they have seen a significant increase in the amount of medical emergencies involving heroin and opioid overdoses which caused them to take a closer look at the reality of having their officers carry naloxone.
In November, all 89 Pennsylvania Capitol Police Officers took the half-hour mandatory online training provided by the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police to administer naloxone. This was followed up with an additional 45-minute training to familiarize officers with the use of the EVZIO Auto-injector unit, which all officers now carry.
The rise in heroin addiction and prescription drug abuse has quickly led to a public health crisis in Pennsylvania, where one in four families suffer from the effects of substance abuse addiction.
Heroin and opioid overdose are now the leading cause of accidental death in Pennsylvania, killing more individuals than those involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents. In 2014, 2,400 Pennsylvanians died from drug overdoses. ■