Governor Wolf Backs Casey Bill to Combat Opioid Epidemic, Bolster Treatment
November 02, 2017
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today urged Congress to swiftly pass the “Combating the Opioid Epidemic Act” introduced by U.S. Senators Bob Casey and Ed Markey. This bill would provide approximately $4.5 billion per year for substance abuse programs to states over the next decade. This $45 billion proposal is similar to the Republican-backed component of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) of 2017.
“In Pennsylvania, our efforts to save lives and get people into treatment are making a difference but there is still more work do to and the federal government must be a bigger partner,” Governor Wolf said. “With 13 overdose deaths each day, a sense of urgency is vital and will continue. Washington must do more to give states resources and tools to get people help. We know that treatment works, and this legislation would pump important resources into states like Pennsylvania battling this scourge. “
In Pennsylvania, Governor Wolf has made expanding treatment a priority: the governor’s Medicaid Expansion has provided treatment to more than 125,000 individuals and the governor’s Centers of Excellence initiative has implemented more than 45 treatment centers across the commonwealth.
“Too many families are being torn apart by this epidemic and it is causing real pain for law enforcement, health professionals and all of our communities,” Governor Wolf said. “I urge Congress and President Trump to enact the Casey-Markey bill into law, as these resources will have an immediate impact on this crisis and help save lives and families.”
Learn more about Senator Casey’s “Combatting the Opioid Epidemic Act” here.
In addition to expanding treatment programs in Pennsylvania, Governor Wolf has led a robust effort to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic by:
- Securing a $26.5 million federal grant to support prevention, treatment, and recovery services to battle the opioid epidemic.
- Securing $5 million in funding for 60,000 additional naloxone kits for first responders in all 67 counties of the state.
- Receiving a $5.7 million federal grant for a comprehensive medication-assisted treatment program in western Pennsylvania.
- Awarding four $1-million grants for the creation of community-specific medication-assisted treatment programs.
- Growing the number of drug take-back boxes to more than 700 and destroyed more than 301,300 pounds of drugs.
- Equipping law enforcement, first responders, and schools with the overdose-reversing antidote naloxone, reversing nearly 4,000 heroin and opioid overdoses since 2014.
- Issuing a standing order — a prescription written for the general public, rather than specifically for an individual — for overdose-reversing antidote naloxone.
- Strengthening the use of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) , which enables health care providers to safely prescribe controlled substances to their patients. 90,000 physicians have conducted more than 1 million searches since the program became operational in 2016.
- Improving prescribing guidelines for the safe and effective use of opioids, including in sports medicine, for minors, and Pennsylvanians on Medicaid, as well as improved education for medical professionals on opioid prescribing.
- Launching a 24/7 helpline, 1-800-662-HELP, for those who need immediate assistance with drug and alcohol problems. More than 15,000 Pennsylvanians have contacted the statewide helpline for assistance.