PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A new state law, passed unanimously by the General Assembly, allows police and other first responders to administer a prescription drug called Naloxone or Narcan to anyone who appears to have overdosed.

Dr. Neil Capretto, medical director of Gateway Rehabilitation, calls it a miracle drug.

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“It immediately reverses an overdose from any opioid. That’s a medicine in the opium family such as morphine, codeine, OxyContin, and heroin, and it will save a life. It’s a dramatic effect.”

Capretto told KDKA’s Jon Delano that heroin deaths are setting new records in this region, but with Narcan “Eighty to 90 percent of these lives could be saved if somebody gave this to them minutes before they died.”

Governor Wolf has ordered all state police to carry Narcan, and the new law allows local first responders to do the same.

Capretto says it won’t hurt if improperly applied, and there’s immunity for those who administer the drug in an emergency.

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So what about the rest of us with a family member at risk?

Governor Wolf has ordered the state’s Physician General to issue a standing order to all pharmacies in Pennsylvania.

That means that any of us can go into the pharmacy and get this important antidote without a prescription. And in many cases it will be paid for by our health insurance.

The most common method of injection is through a nasal spray — or a needle injection.

And there’s a device that will inject even through jeans.

“We hope that it’s going to become something that people have in their homes such as EpiPens and even fire extinguishers,” notes Capretto. “We hope that people don’t have to use them, but if you do it will save a life.”

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