NEWS: COCA to Distribute Overdose Antidote to Berks Community


News for Immediate Release

September 1, 2015

COCA to Distribute Overdose Antidote to Berks Community

READING, PA – The Council on Chemical Abuse in conjunction with the Berks County District Attorney’s Office announced today details surrounding their heroin overdose prevention initiative. The initiative will allow any Berks County resident seeking Naloxone (Heroin/Opioid) antidote to simply contact COCA and request the drug. Naloxone will be available at COCA’s offices and will be given, free of charge, upon completing a short online course in administering the drug.

Naloxone is a medication that can reverse an overdose that is caused by an opioid drug (ie. prescription pain medication or heroin). When administered during an overdose, naloxone blocks the effects of opioids on the brain and restores breathing within two to eight minutes.

The “Good Samaritan” provision of ACT 139 encourages bystanders to summon emergency medical services by calling 911 when witnessing an overdose, offering certain criminal and civil protections for those that do. The Act also allows first responders or other organizations acting at the direction of a health care professional authorized to prescribe naloxone, to administer the drug to individuals experiencing and overdose.

George Vogel, Council on Chemical Abuse Executive Director states, “We (Berks County) have found ourselves in the middle of a heroin epidemic – usage rates, overdose and even overdose deaths are all on the rise. Understanding how to prevent overdose could save more lives, and getting Naloxone into the hands of the public, is imperative.  An Overdose Prevention Kit containing Naloxone should be found right alongside emergency medical kits and AEDs.”

Naloxone is currently being made available to County schools, shelters and police and other sites and locations where either overdoses have frequently occur or where first responders can access the medication. COCA is now making Naloxone available to the general public while supplies last.

Media contact: Christa McCusker at (610) 376-8669 x133 or email

Download a copy of the Press Release

CLICK HERE to read more about Opioid Overdose Prevention.

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