Pennsylvania declares opioid crisis a 'state disaster'

Pennsylvania declares opioid crisis a 'state disaster'

Pennsylvania declares opioid crisis a 'state disaster'

Wolf deserves credit for the emergency declaration and a series of other steps that the government previously had launched. While I am pleased the Governor has finally taken this long-needed step, this life-or-death struggle has been relegated to the background for far too long.

The move eases some regulations that have been barriers to help for the addicted and their families.

Jennifer Smith, secretary of the state Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, said she'll be able to quickly say yes to removing requirements set on the state's 800 treatment providers.

The relaxation of regulations on purchasing of tools to fight the drug overdose crisis will allow Wernersville Community Corrections Center to continue a pilot program that has allowed it it to used a full-body scanner on people returning to the facility for treatment.

"We know that this crisis does not discriminate", Wolf said.

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"A lot of good work happens locally", Alice Yoder, director of community health for Lancaster General Health/Penn Medicine, said Wednesday afternoon. New laws can not be created under the emergency.

Waiving the face-to-face physician requirement for Narcotic Treatment Program admissions.

Fees to have a duplicate birth certificate produced will be waived.

"One of the main things is if we can get people into treatment, hopefully we can help them, and obviously get them onto the path of living a more healthy life", said Dahlkemper.

Pharmacists will be asked to provide the overdose reversal drug widely, likely for free or at a reduced price.

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- Allow for the immediate temporary rescheduling of all fentanyl derivatives to align with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration schedule while working toward permanent rescheduling.

Better data collection is required under this declaration as well.

Randy Gockley, director of the county Emergency Management Agency, said he would wait for a briefing from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency before commenting on the governor's action. With data still being collected for 2017, the increase over 2016 should be around 10 percent, he said.

The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) today noted its support for the Governor's declaration of Pennsylvania's heroin and opioid addiction crisis as a statewide disaster emergency.

"A lot of the focus will be on expanding coordination, providing more tools and resources to family members, to individuals, to first responders, and to allow even more access to treatment", explained Kisielewski. Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, South Carolina and Virginia have previously made similar declarations. Administration officials said there has already been discussion about extending it into the future. Before the declaration, law enforcement would see the crisis as a problem of not enough money for police, just as the treatment community would argue it's a crisis of insufficient inpatient and outpatient resources, he said.

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