Feature Story


DCNR Rangers, Managers to Carry Life-Saving Naloxone

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Surrounded by rangers from Pennsylvania state parks and forests, Governor Tom Wolf visited Gifford Pinchot State Park in York County last week to announce that DCNR is equipping state park and state forest staff with life-saving naloxone.

The effort is intended to minimize opioid overdose fatalities, especially in rural settings such as state parks and state forests where police and other first responders are not readily available.

“DCNR will train and equip 300 employees -- state park and state forest rangers, managers, and assistant managers -- with the life-saving drug naloxone to minimize opioid overdose fatalities,” the Governor said.

Governor Wolf was joined at Gifford Pinchot for the announcement by:

  • DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn
  • Department of Health Secretary Karen Murphy
  • Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Acting Secretary, Jen Smith

 

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Left to right: DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, Governor Tom Wolf, Department of Health Secretary Karen Murphy, and Acting Secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Jen Smith. 

“The opioid epidemic is a health crisis that cannot be ignored,” Governor Wolf said. “It impacts all groups and locations -- urban and rural, young and old, people from all walks of life. Rural areas, including state parks and forests, have not been immune to this epidemic.

Since 2015, there have been seven drug-related deaths on DCNR lands, and more than a dozen incidents where assistance was provided related to an overdose.

DCNR oversees 121 state parks, with most having assigned managers and rangers, and 20 state forest districts. DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry currently has 33 full-time and seasonal rangers, policing those 2.2 million acres of state forestlands.

“These men and women often are the first responders when tragedy strikes among our more than 38 million state park visitors and as many as 5 million state forest visitors,” DCNR Secretary Dunn said. “The safety of our visitors is an important priority to DCNR. Naloxone will be an added tool in helping our state park and forest staff provide an important public service.”

“First responders across the commonwealth have saved more than 3,000 lives using naloxone,” Department of Health Secretary Karen Murphy said. “Knowing that all state park rangers will now have this medication and are trained to use it adds another opportunity for us to save lives and get people into treatment.”

DCNR enforcement officers will complete official naloxone training and maintain current certification status through the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association Training, PA Virtual Training Network. They will carry the naloxone kits in their vehicle when in uniformed patrol status.

For more information on the opioid epidemic and what’s being done to combat the crisis in Pennsylvania, see the Governor’s and Department of Health’s resources.