Cigna donates $7,500 for naloxone

This map shows the 46 municipalities that have agreements in place for local law enforcement to carry Naloxone, a medication that can save lives in the event of an opioid overdose.

This map shows the 46 municipalities that have agreements in place for local law enforcement to carry Naloxone, a medication that can save lives in the event of an opioid overdose.

Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced that the global health service company Cigna has donated $7,500 to pay for Chester County to restock supplies of naloxone. Naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan, is the lifesaving medication used by first responders to reverse the effects of overdoses caused by heroin and prescription opioids. This is the latest in a series of Chester County  accomplishments  involving naloxone.

In 2014, seeing the growing toll of heroin overdose deaths in the region, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office teamed up with  state legislators and other prosecutors to create the “Good Samaritan Law,” allowing police and other first responders  to carry naloxone.

The District Attorney’s Office then quickly turned to the Good Fellowship Ambulance Club (“GFAC”) in West Chester to administer the program. Ethan Healy of GFAC spearheaded the effort. GFAC provided training on how to administer naloxone and supplied the lifesaving drug to law enforcement throughout Chester County. The grant from Cigna allowed GFAC to restock supplies  of naloxone  across Chester County.

Cigna is a health service company that provides 26 million customers with behavioral  health  benefits.  In May of 2016, Cigna committed to reducing its customers’ opioid use by 25% over the next three years. The Cigna Foundation has donated $50,000 to make naloxone available for use by first responders in Pennsylvania.

At this point, 46 out of the 47 law enforcement agencies in Chester County have agreed to carry naloxone, including municipal departments and the Pennsylvania State Police. East Whiteland is the lone municipality not to agree as yet.

The results of this teamwork are impressive. There have been 58 saves by police using naloxone  in Chester County.

Healy, the leader of Project Naloxone said the results speak for themselves.

“Good Fellowship has partnered with several agencies including the Chester County Chiefs of Police Association, Chester County Department of Health, Chester County Drug and Alcohol Services, and the Chester County District Attorney’s Office to offer the most comprehensive care, recovery options, and community support to battle  this epidemic,” he said.

Local police are seeing the impact of the program on almost a daily basis.

“The naloxone initiative  is indisputably the most monumental lifesaving program of the 2000’s,” Tredyffrin Township Police Superintendent and President of the Chester County Police Chiefs Association Anthony Giaimo  said. “For saving lives, it is on par with the acquisition and use of AED’s (Automated External Defibrillators) by law enforcement officers in the early 1990’s. These impactful public  safety programs  allow law enforcement  officers and other first responders the critical lifesaving tools necessary in emergency  interventions. The Chester County Police Chiefs Association wishes to thank all those who pushed for legislation, funding, and implementation to make the Naloxone Program a true success. We know that the family and friends of the survivors certainly do!”

Pam Moules, a parent who runs the Steps 4 Hope Foundation to raise awareness of substance abuse issues, applauded the county’s moves to address the growing crisis.

“In 2014, 82 people in Chester County died from a drug related overdose. Tragically, that statistic includes my son, Jonathan,” she said. “After passing the Good Samaritan Law and the signing of the standing order to make naloxone available over the counter, Chester County wasted no time using all the tools available to them to address the opioid epidemic. Increased  access to naloxone is saving lives, giving families and those suffering with the  disease of addiction hope that they will have a second chance to get the help they need for recovery. I speak for all parents who have lost a child to this disease and all parents who do not want to lose a child in the  future.”

Hogan cites aggressive moves to combat opioid addiction and overdose.

“Chester County has been recognized as a leader across Pennsylvania in dealing with the opioid epidemic,” he said. “We have a strong naloxone program, prescription drug drop boxes, a robust drug court, the Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education programs in the high schools, and a multidisciplinary task force to address these issues. Chester County law  enforcement  also crushes any heroin dealers foolish enough to visit our  county.

We realize that the scourge of opioids strikes everybody and we are committed to saving lives. We deeply appreciate Cigna’s generosity  in helping  Chester  County to  achieve this goal.”

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