Emergency Responders Look To Stay Equipped In Battle With Drug Overdoses
WILKES-BARRE — “This little box could save a life. Please help us to help others,” said Wilkes-Barre Fire Chief Jay Delaney in an emotional plea at City of Wilkes-Barre Bureau of Fire Headquarters on Ross Street.
He told Newswatch 16 Narcan, also known as Naloxone, plays a crucial role in saving lives in the Diamond City and surrounding area.
Emergency crews in Wilkes-Barre have responded to 200 overdoses already this year.
“$60 will save a life. $60 will save a life, that’s how much it costs. If we didn’t have it, what happens?” said Chief Jay Delaney of Wilkes-Barre City Fire
Last year, 4,600 people died from drug overdoses in Pennsylvania, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Pennsylvania Physician General Rachel Levine along with Secretary Jennifer Smith and city officials from Wilkes-Barre spoke about ways they plan to battle the growing problem in the Keystone State.
Dr. Levine tells Newswatch 16 that once a person recovers they need to go directly into treatment to stop them from going down the same path.
“The warm hand-off is just a facilitated referral from the emergency the department to substance abuse treatment,” said Dr. Levine.
Capt. Tom Snyder is one of those first responders who deal with those suffering from addiction in a face to face basis. He tells Newswatch 16 he only has minutes to properly administer naloxone.
“Everybody is a little different how it hits them. Like me, it’s the kids involved when you go in, the baby is crying, the boyfriend is passed out almost dead from the drug and to see a little kid there, it’s heart-wrenching,” Tom Snyder Wilkes-Barre Fire Department.
Governor Wolf plans to increase the availability of naloxone by providing $10 million through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to first responders, and law enforcement.