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Skip Navigation LinksPennsylvania Department of Health > My Health > A-Z Health Topics > M-P > Opioids > Individuals and Families



​​​​Each day, at least ten Pennsylvanians die of opioid or heroin overdose. In 2015, more than 3,500 Pennsylvanians died from drug overdoses. This epidemic is killing our loved ones at an alarming rate. The problem can largely be attributed to the rapid rise in the abuse of opioids, including both prescription pain relievers and heroin.

The Wolf Administration has made naloxone, a medication that reverses opioid overdose, available for any Pennsylvanian. Individuals can go to a participating pharmacy and secure naloxone for themselves or a family member under Physician General Levine's standing order prescription.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health non-opioid directive allows patients to formally communicate that they do not wish to receive opioid medications as a part of their treatment plan. The non–opioid directive helps prescribers and patients begin a dialogue of substance use history and look at alternative methods of treatment. In addition, the directive may prevent inadvertently offering certain controlled substances to those who could be adversely affected.