Pennsylvania’s governor Tom Wolf has declared a statewide disaster in response to the state’s opioid crisis and high levels of heroin addiction, Wednesday.
Wolf, a Democrat, will look to create an initiative focusing on three things. Strengthening coordination and data sharing between state agencies, increasing the amount of first responders, and expanding treatment options, according to The Hill.
“I am taking this step to protect Pennsylvanians from this looming public health crisis, and I am using every tool at my disposal to get those suffering from substance use disorders into treatment, save more lives, and improve response coordination,” Wolf said.
Pennsylvania has one of the highest rates of overdoses in America, The Hill reported. With the new declaration, any current regulation would be suspended or overridden and a new group made up of emergency and law enforcement professionals would be established, tasked with improving conditions for patients and addicts, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The state had 4,642 drug overdose deaths in 2016 and 3,900 were opioid related, according to report cited by The Gazette, conducted by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the University of Pittsburgh.
The move comes after President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a public emergency back in October, with White House adviser Kellyanne Conway calling it, “the crisis next door.”
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