Governor Tom Wolf visited the Dauphin County State Health Center in Kline Plaza today to launch Stop Overdoses in PA: Get Help Now Week and receive a free naloxone kit, which all Pennsylvanians can do on Dec.13 at one of 80 locations across the state.
“As the commonwealth and the nation continue to battle the opioid crisis, it’s imperative that we keep those suffering from opioid use disorder alive, so they can get into treatment,” Gov. Wolf said. “This is a disease we are fighting and those with it need to be treated with the same respect and care as those who are battling any other illness."
Many Pennsylvanians feel that the free naloxone kits do the exact opposite though. Some feel that the arguable disease of addiction is being treated with more respect and care than other health issues requiring life saving drugs, mainly anaphylaxis and diabetes.
According to Governor Wolf's office, since November 2014, more than 20,000 people have been revived with naloxone by police officers and EMS providers in Pennsylvania. However, an estimated 3.6 million Americans were prescribed an EpiPen in 2015 alone, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. According to the Food Allergy Research and Education, the Center for Disease Control reported that more than 300,000 ambulatory-care visits occur per year for children under the age of 18 because of food allergies. In 2014 alone, over 30 million insulin prescriptions were written.
“People should know that we are all first responders in the opioid epidemic and we must all be equipped to help in any way we can,” Gov. Wolf said. “Having a naloxone kit in your car or home may mean you can save a life and help someone into recovery.”
Comments from Facebook show Pennsylvanian's feelings towards the free naloxone:
"How about free insulin? free epi-pens? how about free cancer medicines? i'd prefer to see that, thank you." - Karen W.
"Please correct this to Pennsylvania taxpayers will fund this initiative. Wolf is not paying for it nor his administration" - John K.
"I'm diabetic! And have to pick and choose what months I can afford to buy my medications b/c I do not have health insurance. And yes I work a full time job and a part time job just to try and make ends meet!" - Michele W.
"Free Epi pen would be awesome. I dont have 400.00 for an updated one!" - Jo Ann K.
"How about giving out free insulin? Or any other life saving drug? SMH" - Danielle D.
"Pathetic how ridiculous when people who have serious medical issues and have to be on medication and can’t afford it but give that free to drug addicts" - Joann M.