Department of Health Distributes Life-Saving Narcan to 128 Public High Schools in Pennsylvania

October 13, 2016

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Wolf announced that the Department of Health has provided 128 public high schools in Pennsylvania with free Narcan, a life-saving nasal spray that reverses the effects of opioid overdose. In February, Governor Tom Wolf announced that his administration has partnered with Adapt Pharma to increase statewide access to the naloxone drug, which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

“I am grateful to Adapt Pharma, the Department of Health, and participating public schools for doing their part in fighting against the opioid epidemic,” said Governor Wolf. “By equipping trained professionals in schools with this drug, we are providing necessary resources in order to address this public health crisis.”

A total of 128 public high schools, including charter schools, intermediate units, and career and technical centers, have each received two doses of Narcan. Doses are still available for other interested school districts. School districts who have not yet obtained Narcan from the Department of Health, but would like to, can find more information here.

“Having Narcan in a school could mean the difference between life and death for a student or anyone who overdoses on school property,” said Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy. “The school nurses in these districts have been trained on how to administer Narcan. I encourage other districts to work with their school nurses to get involved in this groundbreaking program.”

“Ensuring the health and safety of the students, teachers, and staff in the commonwealth’s schools is one of the Department of Education’s top priorities,” Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera said. “As communities across the commonwealth are grappling with the realities of drug use, PDE is proud to be working with the Department of Health, our schools, and school nurses to have this potentially, life-saving tool available across the state.”

Narcan (naloxone) is a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose from 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. Narcan has been used safely by medical professionals for more than 40 years and its only function is to reverse the effects of opioids on the brain and respiratory system in order to prevent death.

Anyone can obtain naloxone by filling a prescription from a health care provider or by using the standing order issued by Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine. The standing order, which serves as a naloxone prescription for anyone in the general public to use, is kept on file at many pharmacies. The standing order can also be downloaded from the Department of Health website.

The Department of Health partnered with Pennsylvania-based pharmaceutical company Adapt Pharma to increase statewide access to Narcan. Pennsylvania is the first state to implement what will serve as a model partnership program for other states.

The list of schools approved for Narcan can be viewed at For more information on how the department is fighting the opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania, visit the opioid abuse page.

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