Governor Wolf Tours Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, Hosts Roundtable to Discuss State Efforts to Battle Opioid Epidemic

January 20, 2017

Pittsburgh, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf toured the neonatal intensive care unit at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, which has been selected as a center of excellence. Magee has approximately 10,000 births a year, with roughly 600 babies showing signs of neonatal abstinence syndrome. A baby in the hospital’s NICU, the largest in the Commonwealth, can require care for up to two months.

The governor also hosted a roundtable with local leaders and hospital officials to discuss his administration’s efforts to battle the opioid epidemic and how the state can continue this fight. The 2016-2017 budget included $20.4 million for Centers of Excellence which serve as central, efficient hubs around which treatment revolves. These centers will have navigators to assist people with opioid-related substance use disorders through the medical system, and ensure they receive behavioral and physical health care, as well as any evidence-based medication-assisted treatment needed.

“Ensuring that Pennsylvanians have access to the mental health and substance use care that they need is a priority for my administration. Every day, we lose ten Pennsylvanians to the disease of opioid addiction and 3,500 Pennsylvanians lost their lives in 2015 alone,” said Governor Wolf. “Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC is doing incredible work in helping women battling substance use disorder and babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. I will continue to fight for additional resources to make sure we are doing everything we can to put people on the road to recovery.”

“We are fortunate to have the support of Governor Wolf and to have received Center of Excellence funding for not only the Pregnancy Recovery Center at Magee, but also for drug and alcohol behavioral health services at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC and for general medical patient management through UPMC Internal Medicine,” said Steven Shapiro, M.D., chief medical and scientific officer, UPMC. “These are meaningful funds that are going to excellent use throughout our health system to care for some of our most vulnerable patients.”

In late September, Governor Wolf addressed a joint session of the General Assembly to outline a set of shared, specific legislative goals that would help tackle the opioid and heroin crisis. Together with Republicans and Democrats in both the House and Senate, Governor Wolf made a commitment to prioritize helping the victims of substance use disorder and the communities that have been devastated by this terrible disease.

During the fall session, we made real progress in helping the victims of substance use disorder and the communities that have been devastated by this terrible disease. The governor and legislators made significant achievements toward fighting this epidemic by passing five major bills that will strengthen the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, restrict the number of pills that can be prescribed to minors or in emergency rooms, establish education curriculum on safe prescribing, and create more locations for the drop-off of drugs among other important initiatives.

If you or someone you know is suffering from substance use disorder, help is available. Please visit pa.gov/opioids or call 1-800-662-HELP.


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