The Pennsylvania Department of Health is handing out free naloxone to people at the Pennsylvania Farm Show through 9 p.m. Wednesday in an ongoing effort to stop opioid overdoses and to get people into treatment.
The handout is happening at the Department of Health's booth while supplies last.
"Our vision for the Department of Health is a healthy Pennsylvania for all and that would certainly include saving lives with this medication naloxone," said Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine. Health officials handing out naloxone also instructed people on how to administer it.
Naloxone is a life-saving medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Levine acknowledged some people may not agree that naloxone should be handed out at the farm show. However, she said she believes it is "the best place to discuss" the issue.
"We want parents to talk with teenagers about the risks of drug use, the risk of drug abuse, the risk of overdose so they're aware," said Levine. Levine added, "the farm show, with so many people coming right here is the perfect place to highlight this issue and to get past the stigma associated with addiction.
Since 2018, the PA Department of Health has provided free naloxone kits to more than 14,000 Pennsylvanians. The Department of Health said data shows that in 2018, more than 4,400 people died from a drug overdose. This represents a nearly 18 percent decrease in drug overdose deaths from 2017.
Naloxone is available for free on the state's distribution days and is carried at most pharmacies. The Secretary of Health has also issued a standing order prescription to any Pennsylvanian to get naloxone at a pharmacy for anyone who may need it.
Learn more about the opioid crisis and nalaxone here.