Governor Wolf Hosts Erie Area Roundtable to Discuss Heroin and Opioid Epidemic and Renewed Fight to Help Pennsylvanians

May 24, 2017

Erie, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf joined City of Erie Mayor Joe Sinnott, City of Erie Deputy Police Chief Greg Baney, County of Erie Coroner Lyell Cook, local officials, and health and human services providers to discuss the heroin and opioid abuse epidemic in the Northwest.

“Combatting the heroin and opioid abuse epidemic continues to be a top priority for my administration,” Governor Wolf said. “This scourge on the Erie community and all of Pennsylvania must be fought from all sides, and the discussion today brings the right people to the table to learn, collaborate, and keep the conversation going to develop actionable initiatives to battle this epidemic and to support and protect all Pennsylvanians.”

County of Erie Office of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Director Dave Sanner, County of Erie Sheriff John Loomis, County of Erie Human Services Director John DiMattio, Erie SeaWolves baseball team physician Dr. Brad Fox, and Erie Center of Excellence representative Jennifer Esper also joined the roundtable discussion.

Governor Wolf’s initiatives to fight the epidemic include expanding access to quality treatment for individuals suffering from substance use disorder, diverting addicted individuals away from the criminal justice system and into supportive programs, increasing access to naloxone for first responders, and strengthening the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

To continue the battle against the opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania, Governor Wolf included the following proposals in his 2017-18 budget:

  • Expanding access to life-saving naloxone by providing $10 million through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to first responders, law enforcement, and other public entities across the commonwealth;
  • Maximizing federal Cures Act funding, which includes $26.2 million in each of the next two years for Pennsylvania, to expand access to treatment services, particularly for individuals who are uninsured or underinsured; and
  • Providing $3.4 million to expand specialty drug courts to expand treatment strategies that divert offenders into more meaningful treatment and recovery.

Some of the administration’s other initiatives to fight the opioid epidemic include:

  • Working with the legislature to establish a new law limiting the amount of opioids that can be prescribed to a minor and to individuals discharged from emergency rooms to seven days;
  • Strengthening the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) through the legislative process so that doctors are required and able to check the system each time they prescribe opioids and benzodiazepines;
  • Forming new prescribing guidelines to help doctors who provide opioid prescriptions to their patients;
  • Creating the warm handoff guideline to facilitate referrals from the emergency department to substance abuse treatment;
  • Teaming with the legislature to establish education curriculum on safe prescribing for medical schools;
  • Educating and encouraging patients to properly use, store and dispose of unused prescription medications through drug take-back initiatives, and expanding the number of drug take-back locations to more than 500; and
  • Increasing the availability of naloxone.

If you or someone you know is suffering from the disease of addiction, call 1-800-662-HELP or visit for treatment options.

Governor Wolf is in the Northwest as part of a three-day trip to announce jobs, tour economic development projects, and visit the Erie VA Medical Center.

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