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

April 05, 2019

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf will be a featured participant at the National Governors Association’s (NGA) Opioid Summit for New Administrations, Monday 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. Pennsylvania’s response has been hailed as a national model by the American Medical Association.

“I’m really pleased to be able to take the initiatives, successes and lessons learned in Pennsylvania to my fellow governors at the NGA Opioid Summit,” 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. My hope is that what we are doing in Pennsylvania can be both instructive and inspirational to states struggling with this national health crisis.”

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.

• More than 1,500 birth certificate fees have been waived for patients to get into treatment.

• More than 5,000 people have been connected to treatment after an overdose via the warm handoff program.

• The 24/7 Get Help Now hotline has received more than 40,000 calls looking for information or to connect someone with a local treatment provider. Of those callers, 45 percent have been directly connected to treatment.

• More than 269 tons of drugs were collected and destroyed by law enforcement 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.

Gov. Wolf will detail these and other efforts the state has planned and under way to continue to battle this crisis.

The NGA Opioid Summit is a two-day meeting in Washington, D.C. that will bring 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 will focus on best practices for prevention, treatment and recovery, as well as funding and governance structures to support state efforts.

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