Governor Wolf Renews Opioid Disaster Declaration, Commits to Continued Fight
March 20, 2019
Harrisburg, PA – Amid receipt of preliminary data indicating a decrease in opioid overdose deaths in some parts of the state from 2017 to 2018, Governor Wolf today signed the fifth renewal of his 90-day opioid disaster declaration, highlighting this progress, and noting that Pennsylvanians are still suffering from this disease in epidemic proportions. The preliminary estimate is based on death certificate data that Pennsylvania collects and reports to the Centers for Disease Control.
“Even with an anticipated drop in overdose deaths in some parts of the state, it is essential to continue this disaster declaration while we still have thousands of Pennsylvanians suffering from the disease of opioid-use disorder,” Governor Wolf said. “We have made great progress in reducing the number of opioids prescribed, increasing the number of people who are eligible for treatment and saving lives with the use of naloxone. But we cannot stop until we end this epidemic. My administration is committed to fighting until that is the case.
“We hope that this preliminary data is confirmed and finalized, and we can take some measure of cautious optimism as we move forward in this fight.”
Sixteen state agencies and commissions, as well as the Office of the Attorney General, are part of the Opioid Operational Command Center. The Command Center serves as a point of coordination between state agencies and local resources to ensure that communities have information and can connect to services.
“We are making progress and our preliminary data is showing a decline in drug overdose deaths, but we have more work to do,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “We need to continue getting patients into treatment, expanding treatment opportunities and saving lives. This crisis has built over decades, and while it will take time to end this epidemic, there is hope. Pennsylvanians should continue to have hope for our families, for our communities and for patients who need treatment for the disease of addiction.”
Since Governor Wolf signed the opioid disaster declaration:
- Emergency medical service providers have administered 18,560 doses of naloxone, leaving behind 657 doses;
- Hospitals and birthing centers have reported 2,359 cases of neonatal abstinence syndrome in newborns;
- More than 1,500 birth certificate fees have been waived for patients to get into treatment;
- More than 19,300 residents have been admitted to emergency rooms because of a suspected opioid or heroin overdose; and
- The Get Help Now hotline has received more than 19,500 calls looking for information or to connect someone with a local treatment provider.
- More than 258 tons of drugs were collected and destroyed by law enforcement from the more than 800 drug take-back boxes across the commonwealth.