WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- The phones at the Kirby Health Center in Wilkes-Barre have been ringing off the hook. People wanted information about how to get their hands on Narcan.
The health center has 72 kits of the drug to give away for free, along with pamphlets and magnets about how to give the nasal spray form of the drug.
Thanks to nearly $500,000 in state money, 80 health centers across the state are giving Narcan away on Thursday.
"The good thing is if we do run out, we are actually taking names and phone numbers to replenish the stock at a future date,” said Henry Radulski, director of Wilkes-Barre City Health Department.
Narcan is a brand of naloxone, a life-saving drug that can counter opioid overdoses if it is administered quickly.
For years, Wilkes-Barre firefighters and medics have carried naloxone.
The number of opioid overdose deaths in Pennsylvania is staggering. Last year, more people died of overdoses in Pennsylvania than any other state in the nation.
According to the city fire chief, emergency responders have administered naloxone 240 times so far this year.
The youngest overdose victim they helped was 15 years old. The oldest was 91 years old.
"Generally, someone will be in respiratory arrest, which means they're not breathing and if we can get to them in five to seven minutes after they overdose, we can literally reverse it in two to three minutes and return spontaneous breathing and wake them up,” said Wilkes-Barre Fire Chief Jay Delaney.
Hours before the giveaway, Donna Arnold-Klotz was at the health center. She wanted to be the first to get her Narcan kit. She said she has family members who struggle with drug addiction.
"I feel it's a necessity. If you save one human life, that's one human life and that matters,” she said.