Governor Wolf and Legislative Leaders Discuss Importance of Battling the Opioid Crisis at PA Hope Caucus’ “Day of Hope”

September 20, 2016

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Wolf, legislative leaders, and members of the Wolf Administration attended the PA Hope Caucus’ “Day of Hope” rally in Harrisburg. The PA Hope Caucus’ mission is to ensure every Pennsylvanian has access to high quality prevention and treatment of the disease of drug and alcohol addiction.

“We all know this is a serious issue – the most important public health crisis facing the Commonwealth right now,” said Governor Tom Wolf, “And I’m proud to say that all four caucuses of the legislature and I have come together to find solutions work to meet this crisis head on.”

Last week, Governor Tom Wolf respectfully requested a Joint Session of the General Assembly at a time that is convenient for the House and Senate this fall. The purpose of this session would be to address the members of the House and Senate about our collective efforts to lead the nation in combatting the opioid and heroin crisis facing Pennsylvania.

“The devastating effects of the growing opioid epidemic can be seen all across the state.  We’ve reached a point where no one, no family, is immune,” PA-HOPE Caucus Co-Chairman State Senator Jay Costa said.  “But what we still have, is hope.  My colleagues and I are committed to battling this disease head on, standing side-by-side with those gripped by the disease of addiction.  The road ahead will be challenging and just like many addicts seeking help, it will be easier to give up and give in.  But with our collective strength, we can and we will save lives.”

“Sadly, the heroin and opioid epidemic did not occur overnight – but over a decade or more.  As such, the fight to combat further rise in addiction rates may take just as long,” said PA-HOPE Caucus Co-Chairman Senator Gene Yaw. “Reversing the tide will require a wide-ranging response:  from improving opioid prescribing practices and expanding access to treatment, to working with law enforcement to disrupt the heroin supply, and increasing the use of medications, such as naloxone.  Further, we need to change mindsets and attitudes and provide those suffering from addiction with important resources. A Commonwealth crisis exists today, and only a coordinated effort by all can begin to address it.”

“The drug culture is having an effect on everyone – from people living in cities to those in rural areas, from young people to older adults. It’s having devastating consequences and we all recognize that it requires a comprehensive effort to move people from addiction to recovery,” said PA-HOPE Caucus Co-Chairman Rep. Ed Gainey.

“Today’s ‘Day of Hope’ event highlighted the realities of the opioid crisis affecting communities all across Pennsylvania,” said PA-HOPE Caucus Co-Chairman Aaron Kaufer. “As a co-chair of this caucus, I have the opportunity to lead policy discussions on this issue. As a result of eight statewide hearings the caucus participated in over the summer and where important testimony was gathered from those on the front lines of this epidemic, I am sponsoring 10 bills to address some specific issues related to opioid and heroin abuse. Now is the time to turn our talk into action and deliver much-needed results to the people of Pennsylvania.”

For more information about the opioid epidemic and to find out how to get help visit on.pa.gov/opioids.


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