HONESDALE, Pa. -- You will soon be able to get a lifesaving drug for people who overdose on opioids.
Pennsylvania is handing out naloxone at 80 health centers across the state on Thursday.
Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is best known for its ability to reverse an overdose. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is using nearly $400,000 to provide the drug to people like first responders to put naloxone in the hands of people like you and me.
Suzie Frisch heads up the Wayne County Heroin Prevention Task Force. Frisch couldn't be happier that the state is doling out doses of naloxone free of charge this week.
"It's another tool in the toolbox, as they say. We have to be able to revive people; they have to be alive to get better," Frisch said.
The task force has trained more than 300 people how to use naloxone the right way and provided a kit to people who want to be prepared for an overdose.
Wayne County Coroner Edward Howell has seen the human toll of the opioid epidemic, and he believes naloxone has started to save lives. 2018 could see the fewest overdose deaths in the county since before 2015 when there were about 17, down to 14 or so this year.
Howell says not everyone can afford to pay for naloxone.
"It's a gift to a family and it's a gift to save lives, in a sense to give a second chance to someone battling addiction, who is struggling and striving for recovery. Narcan gives that second chance," Howell said.
Now that naloxone is going to be passed out by the state, this organization will potentially have training courses for everyone who receives it here in Wayne County.
"They're going to leave with a little bit of courage, and some power. A family can save their member when they find them," Frisch said.
Naloxone, or Narcan, is also available at many pharmacies in Pennsylvania, but at a cost.
This Thursday, the state is giving away the drug for free in hopes of stopping deaths from overdoses.