Gov. Tom Wolf recently signed the 14th renewal of his January 2018 opioid disaster declaration to help the state fight the opioid and heroin epidemic.
This declaration was the first of its kind for a public health emergency in Pennsylvania. It aims to allow the state to respond quickly, adapt to developing needs, increase access to treatment and save lives.
It 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. It also allows agencies more flexibility to coordinate and share resources to address the changing needs of communities throughout the commonwealth.
“The opioid and heroin epidemic is an ongoing public health crisis, one that requires immense coordination of staff and resources to save lives and promote healing,” said Wolf. “Public health emergencies like this one are complex disasters that require a concerted, sustained response from the state.
“I am proud of the work done by the Opioid Command Center since 2016. By leveraging the diverse strengths and skill sets brought together by this group, we have been able to make great strides in saving lives and reducing negative outcomes for those suffering with a substance use disorder. However, as the Department of Health recently announced, drug overdose deaths are among the highest levels ever seen in Pennsylvania. This highlights the essential nature of the work done by the Opioid Command Center, and its importance, which is only possible because of this disaster declaration.”