Minnich's Pharmacy to be sole distributor of Narcan in York, Adams counties

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch

As of Wednesday, Aug. 1, a York City pharmacy will handle all distribution of Narcan in York and Adams counties while also providing around-the-clock delivery of the life-saving drug.

Minnich's Pharmacy, 976 S.George St., has partnered with the York/Adams Drug and Alcohol Commission to improve the distribution of the drug, which is used to reverse opioid overdoses, according to a Tuesday, July 31, county news release.

The pharmacy will be on call 24/7 for emergencies and provide same-day delivery of Narcan, which is free to all first responders, the release states.

"This will ensure expedient delivery of Narcan, allow for re-distribution of expiring Narcan and leave-behind Narcan kits for EMS distribution," the release continued. "Previous delivery took nearly three business days."

Physician General Dr Rachel Levine and Secretary of Drug and Alcohol Programs Gary Tennis fill prescriptions for naloxone at Minnich's Pharmacy, 976 S George St., Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. The life-saving drug is now available to all PA residents. John A. Pavoncello photo

Scott Miller, president of the pharmacy, said the commission approached the business because of "issues getting (Narcan) distributed efficiently in the county."

The pharmacy receives the supply of Narcan free of charge from the commission, Miller said, and entered the partnership solely to benefit the community because it is "definitely important in this crisis."

The pharmacy is a member of the York Regional Opiate Collaborative, a task force formed in 2014 to combat the opioid epidemic.

Friday, Aug. 11, 2017--Penn Township officers carry Narcan nasal spray. The drug reverses the effect of opioids. Bill Kalina photo

York County's opioid struggles: The crisis has hit York County particularly hard.

A report published by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) in June showed that the annual increase in opioid-related hospitalizations in York County was more than three times the statewide average for 2016-17.

More:Opioid-related hospital stays in York County triple the state rate in 2016-17

The percent of hospitalizations because of overdoses in York County increased 39.4 percent between 2016 and 2017, well above the statewide average of 12.7 percent, the reports states.

York County Coroner Pam Gay, also a member of the York Regional Opiate Collaborative, hypothesized that the increase was the result of the frequency of "Narcan saves," referring to when a person is revived using Narcan.

As a result of the saves, those revived by the drug can choose to seek hospital treatment, adding to the tally of hospitalizations that might otherwise have resulted in death or refusal to seek further treatment.

Local law enforcement started carrying Narcan in 2015, and police in York County used Narcan to save 593 people who were overdosing between 2014 and 2017, according to Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs data.