The Wolf Administration’s Opioid Command Center is encouraging all Pennsylvanians to participate during International Overdose Awareness Day, celebrated annually on Aug. 31, in remembering those who have lost their battle with substance use disorder.
“I hope that everyone in our state takes a moment today to remember those we have lost to overdoses, and those who are struggling with substance use disorder,” said Gov. Tom Wolf. “The ongoing work of our Opioid Command Center is making a difference in the lives of those suffering with substance use disorder and today is one day among many that we need to reflect on that work and the work of Pennsylvanians to overcome this disease.”
In recognition of Pennsylvanians lost, Wolf has ordered the commonwealth flag on all commonwealth facilities, public buildings and grounds to fly at half-staff. The commonwealth flag has flown at half-staff since Wednesday, March 11, in honor of the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic and should continue to fly at half-staff until further notice. The United States flag is to remain at full-staff. All Pennsylvanians are invited to participate in this tribute.
“In support of all overdose victims, I encourage all Pennsylvanians to pause in reflection and make a commitment to our loved ones and our communities to help eliminate the stigma associated with SUD,” said Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Jennifer Smith. “We must continue to share our struggles, losses and achievements. In doing so, we open the door for others to seek help and find hope.”
“In the midst of a global pandemic, the disease of addiction continues to affect countless Pennsylvanians,” said Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine. “We support all efforts to increase awareness of this disease, and to reduce the stigma associated with SUD. Our commitment continues to ensure there are resources available for those who are struggling.”
The Opioid Command Center, established in January 2018 when Wolf signed the first opioid disaster declaration, continues to meet each week to discuss the opioid crisis. The command center is staffed by personnel from 17 state agencies, spearheaded by the departments of Health and Drug and Alcohol Programs.
Earlier this month, the Opioid Command Center released its strategic plan, highlighting accomplishments to date and providing a roadmap for the continued work to help those with substance use disorder. The plan, available here, includes five goal areas: prevention, rescue, treatment, recovery and sustainability.