Gov. Wolf Highlights Pennsylvania’s Opioid Response to New Governors at National Summit

April 08, 2019

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today was a featured participant at the National Governors Association’s (NGA) Opioid Summit for New Administrations in Washington, D.C., presenting Pennsylvania’s efforts to address the opioid crisis in a 45-minute question-and-answer session with NGA CEO Scott Pattison, participating governors and reporters. Pennsylvania’s response has been hailed as a national model by the American Medical Association.

“It was an honor to be asked to present the details of what Pennsylvania is doing to battle the opioid crisis and share our successes and strategies with my fellow governors,” Gov. Wolf said. “While there is still a lot of work to do, Pennsylvania is beginning to see positive results of the efforts of state agencies and organizations working together on fighting the opioid crisis at every level. As every state continues to struggle with this crisis, I hope this conversation was just the beginning of more collaboration between states.”

Since Gov. Wolf took office, his administration has been fighting the opioid epidemic with a multi-pronged approach, focused on multiple initiatives. Here’s what Gov. Wolf has done:

Expanded Medicaid in 2015 so now more than 125,000 Pennsylvania Medicaid recipients are receiving treatment for substance use disorder.

• Signed a statewide disaster declaration to enhance state response, increase access to treatment and save lives. The Opioid Operational Command Center is the hub of activity for coordinating the fight against this health crisis.

• Implemented 45 Centers of Excellence to provide whole-person-centered care for people suffering from substance use disorder. To date, more than 11,000 people are receiving care in their communities thanks to the Centers of Excellence.

• Expanded the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to practically eliminate doctor-shopping for opioids and reduce the number of prescriptions written for these medications.

• Equipped first responders with live-saving naloxone to reverse overdoses. To date emergency medical service providers have administered 18,560 doses of naloxone, leaving behind 657 doses.

• Added non-fatal overdoses and neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) as reportable conditions. So far, hospitals and birthing centers have reported 2,359 cases of neonatal abstinence syndrome in newborns so that state efforts can focus on the epidemic’s youngest sufferers.

• Waived more than 1,500 birth certificate fees for patients to get into treatment.

• Connected more than 5,000 people to treatment after an overdose via the warm handoff program.

• Provided a direct connection to treatment for 45 percent of the callers to the 24/7 Get Help Now helpline. Since 2014 the helpline has received more than 40,000 calls looking for information or to connect someone with a local treatment provider.

• Collected and destroyed more than 269 tons of drugs from the more than 800 drug take-back boxes across the commonwealth.

• Awarded $15 million in housing grants to help individuals overcome barriers to treatment and recovery.

The NGA Opioid Summit is a two-day meeting in Washington, D.C. that is bringing together health and public safety leaders from 33 states and territories to discuss best practices and learn from other state and national experts.

The summit is designed to support states that are pursuing a coordinated and effective response to the opioid epidemic. Discussions are focused on best practices for prevention, treatment and recovery, as well as funding and governance structures to support state efforts.

Learn more about how Pennsylvania is fighting the opioid crisis here.

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