WHAT YOU CAN DO
Participate in local conversations.GET INVOLVED
Let your local, state, and federal elected officials know that this issue is important to you.
Tell them about the extent of the opioid problem in your area.
Pennsylvania’s Opioid Crisis
Stigma prevents people who are addicted to heroin or prescription opioids from getting the help they need.
The more everyone understands that opioid addiction is not a moral failing but a chemical dependency, the more those who struggle with addiction will realize that they are not alone and that they deserve help. You can help be a part of the solution by increasing awareness in your community.
Be part of the conversation.
Pennsylvania has one of the highest opioid overdose death rates in the nation, with 5,456 deaths in 2017. That’s more than 14 people per day.
In 2016, approximately 4x as many Pennsylvanians died of opioid overdose as died in motor vehicle accidents.
In the first half of 2018, more than 900 babies were born with neonatal abstinence syndrome in Pennsylvania.
In 2016, the opioid crisis cost Pennsylvania $53 billion in lost work, lost lives, and medical costs.
Pennsylvania’s Get Help Now hotline, 1-800-662-HELP, received 4,520 calls in the first half of 2018.
In the first half of 2018, emergency medical responders provided more than 6,000 doses of naloxone to people experiencing opioid overdose.
Learn about how opioid addiction happens, and tell your family and friends.
Talk to your doctor. Some people need opioids to manage their pain, yet as a patient it’s important to be aware of the potential for addiction. If you are in pain, talk to your doctor about alternatives to opioid treatment and whether they will work for you. If you have had problems with opioid addiction, or other substance abuse issues, make sure your medical team knows your history.
Dispose of medications. If you have leftover opioid medications, dispose of them safely. You may be able to use a local Prescription Drug Take-back Box Program. Some local organizations also have mobile drug take-back vans, and/or will come out to events in your area to collect unneeded medications.
Learn how to administer naloxone to assist someone in distress. When given during an overdose, naloxone blocks the effects of opioids on the brain and restores breathing within two to eight minutes. You can acquire naloxone from your pharmacy without a prescription in Pennsylvania due to a “standing order” from PA Health Secretary Rachel Levine. Find out more here. You can find online training through a Pennsylvania Department of Health-approved naloxone resource site:
Get to know recovery organizations in your community. They can help you support
loved ones who are struggling with addiction, and give you opportunities to help others.
Share the PA state helpline—1-800-662-HELP—and website.