WEST CHESTER (May 5) – Emergency medical responders and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) across Pennsylvania have access to the life-saving, anti-overdose drug Naloxone months early thanks to the work of state Senator Andy Dinniman and Good Fellowship Ambulance.

Last fall, Dinniman helped lead the effort to pass Act 139 of 2014, legislation that allows police officers, emergency medical responders, firefighters and others to carry Naloxone (Narcan).

paramedic-24021_1280 (1)As a result, Chester County police officers were trained in the administration of Naloxone in December 2014.  According to William Wells, Director of the Good Fellowship EMS Training Institute in West Chester, the organization has provided training to more than 600 police offers in 35 departments in Chester County and has provided funding to purchase Naloxone for every department in the county.

However, until now emergency medical responders and EMTs have been unable to carry and administer Naloxone because changes in the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Basic Life Support Protocols allowing them to do so will not officially take effect until July.

In response, Dinniman and Wells met with Acting Secretary of Health Karen Murphy and Acting Physician General Rachel Levine in April. As a result of that meeting, Dr. Levine issued written approval for emergency medical responders and EMTs to proceed with carrying and administering Naloxone prior to the effective date of the new protocols.

“What Senator Dinniman did truly opened this up not only for Chester County, but for the entire Commonwealth,” Wells said.

Thanks to the work of Dinniman and Wells, emergency medical responders and EMTs across Pennsylvania can now carry and administer Naloxone provided that they have watched an online instructional video and that the drug’s use is approved by their company’s medical director.

Dinniman thanked Wells and the members Good Fellowship for their eagerness to get involved in the legislative process to resolve bureaucratic obstacles and improve emergency medical care. In addition, he said it was personally fulfilling to be able to cut through the red tape to get this life-saving drug into the hands of the people who need it now.

“This is another instance of Chester County leading the way and making a difference that will reverberate throughout Pennsylvania,” he said. “We know Naloxone can save lives. We know all our emergency first responders should have it on hand. So, we asked ‘Why wait until July?’ And fortunately the new administration moved quickly to address our concerns.”

According to Wells, since December police officers in East Brandywine, Caln and Downingtown have each saved the life of an overdose victim by administering Naloxone.

“Twenty-four people died from heroin overdoses in Chester County in 2013,” Dinniman said. “Everyone deserves a second chance at life and at recovery. Imagine how many lives can be saved by expanding the use of this drug now rather than later.”


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