Pennsylvania governor declares opioid epidemic statewide public health emergency

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Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf on Saturday declared Pennsylvania's opioid overdose and addiction crisis a statewide emergency.

The disaster declaration signed by Mr. Wolf will task a command center at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency with improving coordination between health and public safety agencies working to address the crisis. The declaration will also expand the state's prescription drug monitoring program, increase access to the opioid overdose antidote naloxone and expand access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction, among other initiatives.

"While we have made progress in combatting [sic] the heroin and opioid abuse crisis and drastically expanded Pennsylvania's response, we are still losing far too many Pennsylvanians," Mr. Wolf said. "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."

In 2016, more than 2,200 Pennsylvania residents died of opioid-related overdoses, according to CDC data.

More articles on opioids: 
Narcan developers donate 5k doses to Illinois' opioid overdose task force 
California physician arrested for sexual misconduct and false imprisonment against patients 
New York county sees 112 heroin overdoses in 6 weeks

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