Opioid/heroin reversal (Naloxone)
What is naloxone?
Naloxone is a medication that can reverse an overdose that is caused by an opioid drug (i.e. prescription pain medication or heroin). When administered during an overdose, naloxone blocks the effects of opioids on the brain and restores breathing within two to eight minutes. Naloxone has been used safely by emergency medical professionals for more than 40 years and has only one function: to reverse the effects of opioids on the brain and respiratory system in order to prevent death. Learn more on our Naloxone FAQ page.
The Pennsylvania Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine signed standing order prescriptions for naloxone.
Davids Law - ACT 139
Act 139 is a law that allows first responders (law enforcement, firefighters, EMS) acting at the direction of a health care professional authorized to prescribe naloxone, to administer the drug to individuals experiencing an opioid overdose. The law also provides immunity from prosecution for those responding to and reporting overdoses. Additionally, individuals such as friends or family members in a position to assist a person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose may receive a prescription for naloxone.
What does this mean for first responders?
First responder organizations may now obtain, carry, and administer naloxone in the event of an opioid overdose. According to Act 139, a non-licensed first responder agency must first enter into a written agreement with an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agency.
What does this mean for members of the community?
Members of the community, family members, friends, and bystanders may be prescribed naloxone and can lawfully administer the drug to someone who is experiencing an overdose. Pennsylvania's Physician General has written standing orders for the general public to be able to obtain naloxone without a prescription from their doctor. Although not necessary in order to obtain the medication it is recommended that individuals receive training to recognize the signs and symptoms of an overdose and to learn how to properly administer naloxone.
What is the Good Samaritan Provision?
Through the ‘Good Samaritan’ provision of Act 139, friends and loved ones are encouraged to summon emergency medical services by calling 911 in the event they witness an overdose. The law is meant to suppress the fear of arrest in calling authorities for an overdose event by offering certain criminal and civil protections for those that do. Law enforcement entities in other states that have implemented Good Samaritan protections for those who dial 911 in good faith have reported significant improvements in community relations.
Department of Health Approved Trainings
Department of Health licensed EMS agencies and certified EMS providers - Training will be provided through the Department of Health’s Learning Management System.
Law enforcement/fire departments/other persons not currently licensed by the Department of Health: