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'Fighting the Stigma of Narcan,' distribution event to be held at York City Hall on Tuesday

The City of York will distribute Naloxone (Narcan) to the community Tuesday morning at York City Hall, beginning at 10 a.m.

YORK, Pa. — About 75,000 doses of Narcan have been administered by EMS in Pennsylvania from Jan. 1 to Aug. 5 of this year, according to the Pennsylvania Opioid Dashboard. Data also shows around 45,000 people visited the ER for opioid overdoses in the state so far this year. 

This is part of the reason why the City of York will distribute Naloxone (Narcan) to the community Tuesday morning at York City Hall. 

Officials with the City of York Bureau of Health, York Opioid Collaborative, and the York Adams Drug and Alcohol Commission are utilizing the Overdose Data 2 Action (OD2A) grant received by the CDC to provide preventive measures to the community and collect data.

The CDC launched the multiyear Overdose Data to Action in September of 2019 to combat, focus, and understand the number of drug overdoses and combat the need for intervention.

The funding was granted for three years and is contingent on cities offering prevention efforts. Samantha Zahm, deputy director for the City of York Bureau of Health, said the goal is to try to offer more resources. The grant has helped fund the SafeGuard Program which offers storage and disposal of Narcan and the Overdose Fatality Team which primarily gathers information. 

“Data tracking is one of the things that came out of this grant as well, we do have a team that reviews the data but it is a little challenging...especially non-fatal and Narcan administration because you have so many different entities that are administering it,” Zahm told FOX43. 

According to Zahm, it is difficult to track data for officials in the EMS and fire departments who administer Narcan. To combat the issue, Zahm says a program named BlueGuardian will soon be launched to help track any Narcan administered by law enforcement. 

Overdose Data to Action (OD2A), a CDC program, has five key strategies that many cities are hoping to implement: 

  • Conduct surveillance and research
  • Build state, local, and tribal capacity
  • Support providers, health systems, and payers
  • Partner with public safety
  • Empower consumers to make safe choices

Zahm says these key strategies will help gather information and hopefully stop the stigma surrounding the use of Narcan. 

“Narcan is no different than having like an epi-pen for someone who has allergies to help an allergic reaction or having AED that are readily available if someone goes into cardiac arrest,” Zahm said. 

To expand the accessibility of Narcan, Zahm says the state launched a mail delivery service called Opal. The service allows Narcan to be shipped directly to a home with guidance and a training video on how to recognize, respond, and administer it. 

The City of York distributes Narcan every fourth Tuesday of each month.

Today's event will take place at York City Hall at 10 a.m. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing substance abuse, call 1-800-622-HELP or TTY 1-800-487-4889. This is a confidential, free 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service. 

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