Governor: Opioid crisis a statewide disaster emergency

While some officials have applauded Gov. Tom Wolf's declaration of a state of emergency over the opioid crisis a gubernatorial candidate is saying this should have happened some time ago. This file

Gov. Wolf to make announcement of new executive action in fight against heroin and opioid epidemic

Wagner, a York County state senator, said he does support addressing the opioid epidemic-but not by emergency declaration.

Diamantoni said Wednesday there have been some local deaths from overdoses this year, although the number was not immediately available.

Wolf says the declaration will increase the state's response to the epidemic and allow agencies to work more closely together.

"For example, the Pennsylvania State Police and potentially the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, all state agencies that may have some role and capability to address this", said Rick Flinn, director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

"The governor has outlined some positive steps the administration can take to help address the opioid problem, but there is still more to do and we, in the Legislature, have many ideas of our own that we are excited to share and move through our committees this year. So this allows them to do that", Rosser said.

Pennsylvania ranks fourth in the nation for drug overdose deaths, according to Wolf.

"Just as we are not going to simply arrest our way out of this problem - and absolutely need outreach, prevention, and enhanced treatment - we can not just simply treat our way out of it either", he said.

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The heroin epidemic is so bad in York County that it forced officials to rename the drug treatment court and focus only on individuals suffering from heroin/opioid addiction.

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".

Yoder said Wolf's announcement "many opportunities for improvement" in the methods for dealing with drug-use and overdose issues.

The state's top prosecutor, Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro, called Wolf's action an important step. Still, Wolf and others acknowledged the disaster declaration is no "silver bullet" that will solve the crisis.

The emergency proclamation covers 90 days because that's the maximum allowed by law. "I have introduced legislation that would invest $45 billion in programs that combat opioid addiction and provide treatment for those who need it". Six months ago, I said we needed a new sense of urgency and should declare the opioid crisis a statewide emergency. Previously, only the Health Department, State Department, attorney general's office and private physicians could see the database. Our arrests of medical personnel and others for illegally diverting prescription drugs are up 72 percent.

Paul Mango said: "The opioid crisis hitting our Commonwealth, our neighborhoods, our families is not a Republican or Democrat issue; it is a public health crisis that has no partisan lines".

"I commend Governor Wolf for taking this bold step", Kenney said. "The vast majority of them were from fentanyl", said Cook.

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