Capital BlueCross provides funding to enable municipal police
to carry lifesaving drug for people who overdose
Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association to administer
initiative by supplying overdose rescue kits in 21 counties
HARRISBURG, Pa (Dec. 22, 2014) – Capital BlueCross today announced that the company is providing funding to enable municipal police departments in its service area to purchase and carry naloxone, a prescription drug that can help save the life of a person who has overdosed on prescription painkillers or heroin.
The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association will administer the initiative, coordinating with district attorneys offices to supply participating municipal police departments with naloxone overdose rescue kits for every police vehicle in 21 Pennsylvania counties spanning central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley.
According to a report published by the non-profit Trust for America’s Health, Pennsylvania has the 14th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the United States, with the number of people suffering drug overdose fatalities almost doubling in the Commonwealth and increasing substantially in states nationwide since 1999.
“Drug overdose deaths are rising at an alarming rate in Pennsylvania,” said Gary D. St. Hilaire, Capital BlueCross president and CEO. “This is a concerning trend and Capital BlueCross, as part of our community health mission, is taking a proactive role to help. If providing the funding to equip municipal police with overdose rescue kits saves just one person, and gives that individual a chance to recover from a drug problem and live a full and healthy life, we will consider this initiative a success.”
David Freed, past president of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association and Cumberland County district attorney, said, “With county and municipal budgets so tight, Capital BlueCross’ commitment to make lifesaving rescue kits available in these 21 counties is a huge help. As prosecutors, we believe preventing drug abuse and the rehabilitation of addicts is part of the solution to the growing drug abuse crisis, but we can’t go at it alone. Comprehensive and common-sense solutions to drug abuse require the kind of community leadership Capital BlueCross is demonstrating by funding this initiative.”
Sprayed into each nostril of an individual who has suffered an overdose, naloxone blocks opioid receptors and temporarily restores breathing to create a window of opportunity for additional medical care to be administered.
Earlier this year, Pennsylvania passed a law (Act 139 of 2014) that allows first responders, including police officers who are often the first to arrive at the scene of a medical emergency, to carry and administer nasal naloxone to a person who has suffered an overdose. Previously, Pennsylvania law prohibited police officers from administering prescription drugs, including naloxone.
About Capital BlueCross
For more than 75 years, Capital BlueCross has served residents and businesses in central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley as the region’s leading health insurer. Delivering value through innovation and collaboration, Capital BlueCross continues to evolve, investing in products, services and partnerships to create an even healthier future for customers with more choice, greater convenience and enhanced quality of care. Through Capital Blue, the company’s one-of-a-kind health and wellness retail store, consumers have a place to go for in-person health insurance consultation and service, and for health and wellness information and programs, in a welcoming, convenient environment. Headquartered in Harrisburg, Pa., Capital BlueCross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association employing more than 1,800 people. For more information, visit capbluecross.com.