Governor declares heroin and opioid epidemic a statewide disaster emergency

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Immediately, the declaration allows EMS workers to leave behind the opioid reversal drug naloxone when they respond to an overdose and the subject refused to go to an emergency room.

- Waive the face-to-face physician requirement for narcotic treatment program admissions to allow initial intake review by a certified registered nurse practitioner (CRNP) or physician assistant to expedite initial intakes and streamline coordination of care when an individual is most in need of immediate attention. Pennsylvania has the fourth-highest overdose death rate in the United States.

Wolf deserves credit for the emergency declaration and a series of other steps that the government previously had launched.

WILKES-BARRE - Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday issued the first-ever public health disaster declaration that he said will enhance the state response to the opioid epidemic.

Officials say, it allows the state to override a lot of existing regulations to address the crisis. "It is the worst public health crisis that we have faced in Pennsylvania".

In addition, the state is moving to get hospitals to report when people are brought in with drug overdoses or babies are born with drugs in their systems, Levine said. It will provide broader access to the prescription drug monitoring program, which is meant to deter people from becoming addicted to prescribed opioid pain relievers by giving doctors and pharmacists access to each patient's total prescription history. She says, lax rules at rehab facilities made it too easy for people to get drugs while in treatment.

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Wolf acknowledged that the move "isn't a silver bullet" to solve the crisis.

He says Wolf's move to allow officers to issue Naloxone, which can save someone having an overdose, has already saved lives - and law enforcement wants to do more to help. "We look forward to working with the General Assembly and administration on meaningful reforms that serve our residents and families, as well as guide the future health of our communities".

The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) today noted its support for the Governor's declaration of Pennsylvania's heroin and opioid addiction crisis as a statewide disaster emergency.

Pennsylvania is the eighth state to declare the opioid crisis a disaster emergency.

While some other states saw a decline in overdose deaths from May 2016 to May 2017, Pennsylvania recorded an 83 percent increase, according to a new analysis published Monday by Kaiser Health. "I thank Governor Wolf for his leadership and partnership as we work together every day to save Pennsylvanians' lives". "But as we do, we understand we also have to act, quickly and decisively to make sure those numbers don't continue to grow", said Governor Tom Wolf.

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