BLOG: Governor Wolf Continues Statewide Opioid Roundtable Tour in Western PA (Round-up)

By: Eryn Spangler, Press Assistant

May 09, 2016

Governor Wolf continued to conduct roundtables across the state to discuss the current opioid abuse epidemic with events in Bedford, Pittsburgh, and Indiana late last week. The roundtables were attended by state lawmakers, local officials, law enforcement, and health care professionals and are part of Governor Wolf’s plan to combat heroin and opioid abuse in Pennsylvania.

The governor considers hosting these events an opportunity to create a larger discussion between state lawmakers and local officials. “I look forward to continue working collaboratively with the General Assembly and community leaders to ensure Pennsylvania leads the nation in the fight to combat the opioid abuse and heroin use epidemic,” said Governor Wolf.

Governor Wolf has proposed that the 2016-17 budget provide more than $34 million for the creation of treatment programs and 25 new treatment facilities statewide that would have the capacity to help 22,500 individuals who suffer from substance abuse disorder.

Take a look at the roundtable coverage below:
Post-Gazette: Gov. Wolf looks for answers in Homewood to opioid crisis

“Some people in the prison system shouldn’t be in the prison system,” Mr. Wolf agreed. “They should be in treatment.” Mr. Wolf’s administration has made the anti-overdose drug naloxone more widely available, added drug take-back boxes for unneeded medication, improved funding for rehabilitation and started toward creation of a prescription database, opioid prescribing guidelines and more cautionary education about narcotics in medical schools, the governor noted. The naloxone alone has saved 800 lives so far, he said.

TribLive: Pennsylvania Governor urges rehab over prison to quell opioid epidemic

The criminal justice system should ease punishments for nonviolent drug offenders as part of a broader effort to curb Pennsylvania’s opioid epidemic, Gov. Tom Wolf said Thursday during a roundtable discussion with elected officials and health care professionals in Pittsburgh. “We can’t arrest our way to success,” Wolf said. “We have to recognize that some people in the prison system shouldn’t be in the prison system.”

TribDem: Governor visits region in search of solutions to statewide drug problem

So far, Wolf has held a handful of roundtable discussions to get input from local leaders about what can be done to provide help for drug addicts and turn around the staggering numbers of overdose deaths in the state, with 2,500 reported in 2014. “The state can do a good job in terms of creating the framework for addressing the issue, but every locality has its own unique needs,” Wolf said. “We need to learn what those needs are at the local level and how we can make sure we can build in the flexibility at the state level.”

Indiana Gazette: Gov. Wolf convenes panel on opioid epidemic

[Governor]Wolf, a Democrat, and [House Majority Leader] Reed and [Senator] White, both Republicans, spent most of the hour-long session taking suggestions for more ways to make the fight successful. “We actually are here to listen,” Wolf said. “There are times we disagree on some things but, on this, we are in absolute agreement that we have a problem in Pennsylvania and we need to get our arms around it. “

Altoona Mirror: Wolf seeks to stem drug abuse

“This is a problem throughout Pennsylvania, not just one corner,” Wolf said. “Every segment of the population is facing this.” He’s set for a roundtable talk this morning in Bedford, one of many such meetings on the issue he has held throughout the state. Heroin and painkiller abuse have spurred bipartisan action across the country, especially in the Northeast, where officials in some states have declared public health emergencies.

Tribdem: Chip Minemyer: Too many moms feeling sting of heroin’s impact

In a phone conversation with me on Tuesday, [Governor] Wolf admitted that pushing opioids out of Pennsylvania’s communities will be neither easy nor quick. Wolf met with Bedford County leaders on Thursday, the latest stop in a statewide series of meetings on opioids. Wolf noted that in 2014, more Pennsylvanians died of drug overdoses than in automobile crashes. “This is something I first learned about in Johnstown during my campaign,” Wolf said of the widespread impact of heroin and other drugs. “This is affecting all corners of the state and all segments of the population.”

Fox 8: Governor Wolf at Bedford County Library (video)



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