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Gov. Wolf declares heroin, opioid epidemic statewide disaster emergency


Gov. Tom Wolf signed a statewide disaster declaration Wednesday, to enhance state response, increase access to treatment and save lives in the fight against heroin and opioid addiction.

The declaration is the first-of-its-kind for a public health emergency in Pennsylvania.

“While we have made progress ... we are still losing far too many Pennsylvanians,” Wolf said.

According to the declaration, Pennsylvania’s rate of drug overdose is 36.5 per 100,000, significantly higher than the national average of 16.3 per 100,000, and the number of emergency department visits related to an opioid overdose has increased by 82 percent from the third quarter of 2016 to the third quarter of 2017.

The declaration includes 13 key initiatives that focus on: enhancing coordination and data collection to bolster state and local response; improving tools for families, first responders, and others to save lives; and speeding up and expanding access to treatment.

Watch the governor make the declaration.

 

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