Prevention Point Pittsburgh

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

An Allegheny Health Network chemist is developing a longer-lasting version of naloxone, to stop people from slipping back into overdose.

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Most overdose fatalities in Pennsylvania continue to be opioid related, but deaths associated with methamphetamine and other stimulants are also on the rise, according to a new analysis from the University of Minnesota State Health Access Data Center. 

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The public health community has long called for a needle exchange in south Pittsburgh, as fatal overdose data indicates high opioid use in this area. On Tuesday, a proposed site for distributing sterile syringes to injection drug users passed its final hurdle. 

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

 

Hulking German Shepherd Dogs are a ubiquitous part of many police forces -- sniffing for drugs, bombs and all manner of bad guys -- but another breed greets its target with a lick.

  Pittsburgh K-9 trainer Sgt. Sean Duffy says his latest recruit, Cappy, a 17-month-old bloodhound puppy, will be an essential part of the force's search and recovery and missing persons efforts.

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A clean needle exchange that provides free syringes to drug users could soon open in the Carrick neighborhood, making it the first needle exchange in the southern part of the city.

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In January, 39-year-old Damian Chadwick died at a Bethel Park barbershop a little before 2 p.m. According to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner, the overdose death was due to a combination of cocaine, alcohol and the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

As the opioid epidemic rages on, more and more places from libraries to Goodwill stores are keeping the anti-overdose drug naloxone on hand. 

Since September, all YMCAs of Greater Pittsburgh have had somoene on duty who’s trained to administer naloxone, which reverses the effects of an overdose by restarting a person’s breathing.

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

In an effort to combat the opioid crisis, the state has distributed more than 27,000 doses of naloxone to 59 counties across the commonwealth. The Allegheny County Health Department received 2,100 doses that will be delivered to local police, EMTs and other first responders.

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The nonprofit that runs the needle exchange program in Allegheny County is leaving it's current location in Oakland. 

Each Sunday, as many as 75 intravenous drug users or their surrogates visit the Prevention Point Pittsburgh needle exchange program at the Oakland office. But the exchange will move to East Liberty in April.

The health department is moving its clinic and wasn't able to guarantee Prevention Point would be able to use those facilities on Sundays. 

Prevention Point Pittsburgh Celebrates 20 Years

Apr 15, 2016
Todd Huffman / flickr

Since they began in the Hill District in 1995, Prevention Point Pittsburgh has been providing needle exchange services to help stop the spread of injection-related diseases. Twenty years later, the organization has spread to three counties and has served more than 5,000 injection drug users. We’ll ask Overdose Prevention Project Coordinator Alice Bell how PPP has evolved over the years and how they measure success. We’ll also hear about the many services they provide to users. 

Health officials are warning that an extremely dangerous brand of heroin is making the rounds in Pittsburgh and surrounding counties.

Twenty-two people have died in the past week in western Pennsylvania from a suspected overdose of a mix of heroin and the powerful narcotic fentanyl, according to Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner says they’ve found “stamp bags” labeled with the words “Theraflu,” “Bud Ice” and “Income Tax” at the scenes of the overdoses.