BLOG: Governor Wolf Continues Priority to Combat Opioid Abuse by Hosting Roundtable at Governor’s Residence (Round-Up)

By: Eryn Spangler, Press Assistant

May 05, 2016

Yesterday, Governor Wolf continued his state tour of roundtable discussions focused on discussing the current opioid abuse epidemic in Pennsylvania. The event, held at the Governor’s Residence, was attended by members of the Governor’s cabinet, local officials, law enforcement, health care professionals, emergency responders, and stakeholders. These statewide roundtables being hosted by the Governor are opportunities for the attendees to discuss collaborative efforts to combat the crisis.

“Fighting Pennsylvania’s opioid and heroin epidemic is a top priority for my administration,” said Governor Wolf. “The community leaders here today work diligently every day to ensure that Pennsylvania leads the nation in the fight to combat the opioid abuse and heroin use crisis. This panel is an opportunity to discuss how we can work more collaboratively with the folks on the ground of this crisis.”

The Governor and his administration hope that these roundtable discussions will lead to a larger bi-partisan conversation between state and local officials on how best to confront opioid abuse in Pennsylvania.

“The magnitude of the addiction and overdose death epidemic in Pennsylvania is shocking: at least seven Pennsylvanians die every day from a drug overdose,” Governor Wolf said. “With nearly 2,500 overdose deaths in Pennsylvania in 2014 and estimates that the 2015 total will be higher, a collaborative effort on the federal, state, and local levels is crucial in combating this crisis.”

Take a look at additional coverage of the roundtables and the Governor’s efforts below:
PennLive: Wolf pledges to lead US in fighting painkiller-heroin crisis: here’s how

[Governor] Wolf said the crisis crosses all political, economic and geographic lines, and that should “galvanize” bi-partisan political will toward solutions. While much more needs to be done, experts on Wednesday said Pennsylvania has already taken a national lead…Yet much more is needed, said Wolf and others.

The Times: Gov. Wolf hosts opioid discussion, plans to tour the state

“We have a chance, I think, to really do something to address this issue,” [Governor] Wolf said…”It is a real medical problem. It is a medical epidemic, and we need to treat it as that,” said Wolf, assuring a room full of advocates and professionals that his administration understands the severity of the problem and the need for intervention and funding.

Observer-Reporter: Wolf leads roundtable meetings to discuss heroin, opioid epidemic

Bipartisanship in Harrisburg is about as rare as a Bigfoot sighting, but Gov. Tom Wolf says he has found common ground with Republican colleagues on at least one issue – recognition that the heroin and opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania is at a crisis point, and the need to alleviate it is urgent…“There seems to be a broad recognition that this is a problem, and there is the political will to do something about it.” [said Governor Wolf]

Altoona Mirror: Wolf seeks to stem drug abuse

“This is a problem throughout Pennsylvania, not just one corner,” [Governor] Wolf said. “Every segment of the population is facing this.”… In 2014, nearly 2,500 Pennsylvanians died from drug overdoses – most from heroin and opium-based medication – including 21 in Blair County and 37 in Cambria County, according to the Pennsylvania State Coroners Association. “We lose too many lives,” Wolf said.

Fox 43: Gov. Tom Wolf Addresses Opioid Abuse and Heroin Epidemic

“People need to recognize this because it’s happening to people next door,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “It’s happening to people in their families. It’s happening all over  Pennsylvania. Every segment of the population is affected by this. And so, we have a chance, I think, to really do something, to address this issue.”

WTAJ: Governor pushes for more action in fighting opioid epidemic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that opioid overdoses killed more than 28,000 people in 2014. In Pennsylvania, deaths are a fraction of that number, but it’s increasing quickly. The state Coroners Association found nearly 2,500 people died in PA from opioid overdoses in 2014.  Governor Wolf and health experts all said they expect those numbers to increase in the 2015 report.

CBS 21: Wolf meets with police, healthcare professionals to discuss heroin crisis

[Governor Wolf] met with police and healthcare professionals Wednesday to talk about how the state will move forward. Wolf says the state should start treating the issue as an addiction, rather than criminalizing people with prescription drug addiction. While trying to combat the issue, Wolf hopes Democrats and Republicans can come together as part of a larger conversation.

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