Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City and past/future presidential candidate, announced last week that he is donating $10 million to the Commonwealth through Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Bloomberg will donate $50 million total to ten states, with Pennsylvania being the first to receive funds.
The money is expected to increase distribution of naloxone (brand name, Narcan), a life-saving drug that revives people following an opioids overdose. State pharmacies are already required to make the drug available without a prescription, but are not required to actually stock the drug.
Proposed legislation in Philadelphia would require pharmacies stock the drug. As Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Stu Bykofsky pointed out in a recent column, naloxone availability has been an easy cross-aisle issue to support:
Oppose it and you will be painted as someone who doesn’t care when someone overdoses and drops dead on the sidewalk.
Bloomberg’s funding could be used to subsidize or underwrite naloxone distribution.
Naloxone availability is likely a prime driver behind this year’s decrease i overdose deaths, as reported this week by the Washington Post. This data represents some of the first hope we’ve seen that the opioids crisis has peaked.
There were 17 successful overdose reversals in Lebanon County last year.