In Philadelphia, Governor Wolf Hosts Discussion on Efforts to Combat the Opioid Epidemic
January 30, 2017
Philadelphia, PA – Today, Governor Wolf visited Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine’s Center for Substance Abuse Research and hosted a discussion with legislators, local leaders, and medical professionals on how to best continue the fight against the opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania.
“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. “I applaud Temple University for recognizing that substance use disorder is a disease, not a choice and I want to thank them for doing their part in battling this epidemic.”
Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine’s Center for Substance Abuse Research was selected as a substance use disorder treatment Center of Excellence by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. 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.
“It’s time we treat this like the true epidemic it is,” said Temple University President Richard M. Englert. “We need to mobilize our efforts similar to what we would do for an infectious disease. The Temple model does just that.”
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, real progress was made 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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