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Police in Dauphin County getting drug that reverses overdoses

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Jul 30, 2015 4:30 AM
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Photo by Ben Allen/witf

(Harrisburg) -- After York County first put a life-saving drug in police cars, another midstate county plans to follow suit.

By early next week, about half of police departments in Dauphin County will have naloxone on hand to stop the effects of an overdose from opioids like heroin.

The Dauphin County District Attorney's Office is coordinating the program.

DA Ed Marsico says some police were hesistant to step forward at first, fearing liability issues and potentially violent reactions from those brought back to life.

But he says York's experience calmed the concerns.

"I think around here, that really gave the impetus to overcome maybe some reluctance to getting the naloxone," he says.

Marsico says Harrisburg Police are getting close to securing the necessary legal documents to carry the drug.

Police in York County have already reversed at least 25 overdoses, and statewide, police have used naloxone more than 150 times.

Health insurer Capital BlueCross is paying for the office's first order of 100 naloxone doses.

Marsico is hopeful the insurer will help fund additional kits to replace those that have to be used.

The state law expanding access to naloxone went into effect in November. Lancaster County police also are carrying naloxone.

Nearly 2,500 people died from drug overdoses in 2014, a statistic that doesn't include the state's third-largest county (Montgomery), and a dozen more.

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