Gov. Tom Wolf signed his 11th renewal of his January 2018 opioid disaster declaration to help the state fight the then-burgeoning opioid and heroin epidemic.
The declaration allows the state to loosen regulations and work outside of typical procedures to expedite aid and initiatives to help those suffering from opioid use disorder and those who work to prevent and treat this medical condition.
“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the commonwealth’s Opioid Command Center continues its work to fight another health crisis – the opioid epidemic,” said Wolf. “The work that is enabled by this declaration is vital to saving the lives of so many Pennsylvanians, providing education and treatment, and advancing initiatives across the state to continue to battle this epidemic. This work is no less important during COVID and I am grateful for all those dedicated professionals who continue the drumbeat of compassionate care and work toward ending this crisis.”
The declaration allows for the redirection and reorganization of commonwealth resources to align programs from multiple agencies to work together to mitigate the opioid crisis, its causes and its effects. Because of the magnitude and complexity of the opioid crisis, additional resources may be needed to fully contend with the severity of this continuing and expanding disaster emergency.
“As the commonwealth continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, continuing our fight against the opioid epidemic has never been more important,” said DDAP Secretary Jennifer Smith. “Governor Wolf’s 11th renewal of the disaster declaration shows his unwavering commitment to support individuals suffering from substance use disorder and focusing resources to support the drug and alcohol community.”
Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine recently signed an updated naloxone standing order permitting community-based organizations to provide naloxone by mail. This will assist organizations distributing naloxone to Pennsylvanians in-need while reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission. All Pennsylvanians can continue to obtain naloxone at a pharmacy under a previous standing order issued by Levine in 2018.
“The opioid crisis continues for those with the disease of addiction, our communities and our state,” said Levine. “Renewing the disaster declaration allows us to continue our efforts to ensure that we are helping those in need. Recovery works, and treatment is possible for those with this disease.”
Visit pa.gov/opioids for more information.