February 21, 2018 – Giving communities the tools to help citizens struggling with the disease of addiction is vital in the battle to curb the nation’s drug epidemic. A local health insurance provider will now provide the life-saving antidote for opioid and heroin overdoses free of charge.
Independence Blue Cross, a Philadelphia-based company, will stop charging members for naloxone, a nasal spray that blocks the effects of opioids on the body. The state of Pennsylvania has made naloxone available without a prescription to help save lives.
The life-saving antidote was administered approximately 4,000 times by the Philadelphia Fire Department and 200 times by Philadelphia police in 2016, according to a report issued last May by the Mayor’s Task Force to Combat the Opioid Epidemic in Philadelphia.
“By removing a financial barrier to accessing naloxone, we can make the drug more readily available and hopefully save more lives,” said Dr. Richard Snyder, chief medical officer for Independence Blue Cross and a member of the Mayor’s Task Force. “Our hope is that anyone struggling with opioid addiction can get appropriate treatment, but they have to be alive to take that step.”
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