Governor Wolf Continues Fight Against Opioid Epidemic in Pennsylvania (Round-up)
By: Eryn Spangler, Press Assistant
July 20, 2016
On Monday, Governor Wolf and Department of Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas toured two of Pennsylvania’s newly approved and funded Centers of Excellence. During the visits, Governor Wolf and Secretary Dallas discussed the significant strides made in the 2016-17 budget to combat the heroin and opioid abuse epidemic plaguing Pennsylvania. The Wolf Administration successfully secured the necessary funding for DHS to open 20 Centers of Excellence (COEs) statewide by October 1, 2016.
“I am thrilled that by working with Republicans and Democrats, we have achieved this level of funding for our fight against this public health crisis,” said Governor Wolf. “Now that this year’s budget is complete, it is imperative that we all continue working together to focus on Pennsylvania’s opioid abuse and heroin use epidemic. While the budget allows us to expand treatment for individuals suffering from addiction, we can and should do more to address this matter that is plaguing all of our communities. My administration will keep its focus on this issue and I will continue preparing for the upcoming special session.”
Yesterday, Governor Tom Wolf was joined by Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine, Department of Health Secretary Dr. Karen Murphy, Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Gary Tennis, and Department of State Secretary Pedro Cortes to announce his administration’s new prescribing guideline recommendations for the safe and effective use of opioids. Under the governor’s leadership, the Department of Health and the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs convened the Safe and Effective Prescribing Practices Task Force, which includes members from various state agencies, representatives from medical associations, provider advocates, and community members.
“By reducing the pattern of over-prescribing painkillers that have such a high risk for abuse, we are fighting back against opioid abuse and heroin use before those habits even begin, so I am thrilled to hear Dr. Levine’s recommendations today,” said Governor Wolf. “I urge all state medical boards to accept these guidelines. In addition, I remain committed to working with the legislature during the upcoming special session to address the opioid abuse and heroin use epidemic.”
Take a look at the additional coverage below.
Reading Eagle: State licensing boards sign off on new prescribing guidelines to curb opioid use
[Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine] said 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain medicine were issued nationwide last year, enough to provide a bottle for every adult. The seven sets of guidelines are broken down by medical specialties, including specific sets for emergency room pain treatment, opioid use in dental practice and obstetrics and gynecology pain treatment. “We believe the medical community is eager to have more information,” Levine said.
Citizens’ Voice: New Pennsylvania guidelines seek to curb opioid prescriptions
In place of painkillers, physicians can turn to physical and cognitive therapies to deal with a patient’s pain, said Gary Tennis, secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. [Governor] Wolf said he would support legislation to make the prescribing guidelines mandatory.
Philly Voice: Wolf administration recommends new guidelines for prescribing opioids
Doctors and pharmacists in the state of Pennsylvania may face new guidelines for prescribing and dispensing painkillers. Governor Tom Wolf and state health officials unveiled on Tuesday prescription recommendations for the safe and effective use of opioids.
WTAJ: Wolf Administration announces new Opioid Prescribing Guideline Recommendations
“These guidelines encourage the judicious prescribing of opioid pain medications and they also call for other clinical interventions, prior to the initiation of opioids,” Dr. Levine said. “Really, Opioids should be one of the last treatments for acute pain or chronic pain as opposed to the first treatment that’s prescribed.”
WGAL: PA rolls out new prescription drug guidelines (Video)
Post-Gazette: Pa. boards of pharmacy and medicine approve new opioid prescribing guidelines
At an afternoon news conference, Gov. Tom Wolf said he was proud of his administration’s work in creating the guidelines. “The goal for all of us is to reduce the pattern of over-prescription,” he said.
Post-Gazette: Gov. Wolf visits ‘Center for Excellence’ opioid treatment facility
“This is a tragic problem that affects too many families, too many people throughout Pennsylvania,” Mr. Wolf said. “We need to do something about it, and we started with this last budget.” The new state budget includes $15 million for the centers, plus $5 million from federal Medicaid funding. Mr. Wolf initially asked for a total of $34 million, but he stressed nonetheless that the effort had been a bipartisan one.
Lehigh Valley Live: Governor visits Allentown to highlight new addiction treatment funding
Speaking to a group of Treatment Trends residents, Dallas said, “The hardest thing in the world to do sometimes is to ask for help or to take that step over to get services, and you’ve done that. That is the thing that we need if we’re going to be successful.”
Morning Call: In Allentown, a more ‘excellent’ approach to fighting heroin
“With the Center of Excellence, you will have someone who will help you navigate,” said [Secretary Ted Dallas], who joined Wolf in Allentown. “The whole community helps treat the person, and we make sure you get the services you need.”
WKBN: Gov. Wolf discusses new funding to fight opioid addiction in PA
“This is a tragic problem that affects too many people, too many families throughout Pennsylvania and it’s something we can do something about, so we started to do something about it with this last budget,” Wolf said.
WFMZ: Governor Wolf visits Allentown to discuss opioid abuse treatment
“Republicans and Democrats are coming together to do something about this,” Governor Wolf said during a Monday stop in Allentown. “We all recognize this is not the Pennsylvania we want; we can do better, we will.”
Philly.com: Gov. Wolf announces 20 new centers to coordinate opioid addiction treatment
“We all know someone impacted by the opioid epidemic, and one thing has become abundantly clear – opioid addiction is an illness,” Gov. Wolf said in a statement announcing that his administration was moving ahead with the plan. “In order to address this illness, we need to think about addiction treatment in a different way. Treating underlying causes gives people the best chance they have to beat their addiction.”
Post-Gazette: State attempting better coordination of broader services for opioid addicts
“Normally if you go to a clinic or hospital, you get a referral for service, and then you’re almost left alone to navigate the system yourself. … We’re trying to move to a more comprehensive, coordinated approach,” said Pennsylvania Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas. “It’s combining medication-assisted treatment with wrap-around therapies for behavioral health problems and to help those with physical health problems that are causing them pain.”
Daily Times: Community Hospital in Chester tapped by Gov. Wolf as opioid treatment center
Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas noted that opioids are so powerful that those who attempt recovery need different types of help in order to beat the disorder. “The intense cravings, detoxification, and withdrawal symptoms involved in quitting make addiction difficult to overcome. As our strategy involves both behavioral therapy and FDA-approved medication that individuals take to help curb cravings and manage withdrawal symptoms, it can improve the odds of recovery,” he noted.
Citizens’ Voice: Ashley clinic one of 20 in Pa. to benefit from budget boost
The [Centers of Excellence] initiative aims to get the roughly 300,000 people being treated for addictions across the state to stay in treatment and to make care more accessible for those in need, [Secretary of the Department of Human Services, Ted Dallas] said. “Combining medication with therapy and addressing the person’s entire issues, that we think, is the thing that will give us the best chance to be successful,” Dallas said.
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