HARRISBURG (KDKA)– Public officials believe that we Pennsylvania is at a critical crossroad in combatting the opioid epidemic.

A total of 6,774 free Naloxone kits were distributed throughout Pa. The Allegheny County Health Department dispensed a total of 1098 Naloxone kits this year.

“The life-saving medication naloxone is essential for every resident to have on hand, particularly if you have a loved one suffering from opioid-use disorder,” said Gov. Tom Wolf.

Naloxone is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine issued a standing order prescription to get Naloxone at a pharmacy for anyone who may need it.

Officials say in 2018, more than 4,400 people died from a drug overdose.

“Every Pennsylvanian has a role to play as a potential first responder and can save a life by having naloxone on hand and using it if they come across someone who has overdosed,” said Said Levine.

This standing prescription allows first-responders to administer Naloxone, that is free through state funding, as a part of their treatment procedure.

Naloxone is carried at most pharmacies across the state; it’s available to many with public and private insurance at pharmacies for free or at a low cost.

For more information on the crisis visit www.pa.gov/opioids.