Top Stories

New directive for overdose reversal drug naloxone

There is a new directive for the overdose reversal drug naloxone.

The state's top doctor just told first responders to leave it behind after they revive overdose victims.

But that directive is causing confusion for local first responders.

First responders in Pittsburgh used naloxone more than 1,500 times in 2016 alone and now Gov. Tom Wolf wants to get the drug into even more people's hands.


As part of the declaration of a statewide emergency, the Pennsylvania Department of Health authorized a standing order that naloxone be given to anyone who overdoses after they are revived.

The order reads: "Leave behind Naloxone with the At-Risk Person or with family members, friends, or others persons who are in a position to assist the At-Risk Person, along with instructions."

But sources who work in emergency services told Channel 11 they're concerned with the vagueness of the order. They raised several concerns about leaving naloxone with someone who just overdosed, including issues with liability, how much should be left, the cost and the amount of education the user may need.

One source told Channel 11 they're hoping to get clarification from the Department of Health in the next week.

Channel 11 contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Health about the confusion, but the department didn't return our calls and messages.

EMS sources told Channel 11 they won't feel comfortable implementing the change until they get clarification of the issues that concern them.