Gov. Wolf issues disaster declaration against heroin and opioid addiction

Calling heroin and opioid addiction one of the worst health crises in decades, Governor Tom Wolf Wednesday signed a s...

Posted: Jan 11, 2018 6:48 PM
Updated: Jan 11, 2018 6:48 PM

Calling heroin and opioid addiction one of the worst health crises in decades, Governor Tom Wolf Wednesday signed a statewide disaster declaration that allows the state to do more to fight the drug epidemic.

It is a 'first-of-its-kind' declaration in a health emergency, officials said, and the latest step in the fight against heroin and opioids.

"We know that this crisis does not discriminate," Wolf said. "It hits every age level, every creed, color and income level. It hits rural and urban areas. It hits all regions of the state, north, west, east and south."

There are 13 initiatives set forth in the declaration, including the creation of an opioid command center at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

"Our role is really focused in on doing the things we normally do in any disaster, whether it's gathering information from a situation awareness perspective, working with state agencies identifying problems, and working with them on what they have, the ability to provide the resources to solve those problems," said Rick Flinn, director of PEMA.

Click here to see a full list of the initiatives set forth.

There are several reclassifications under the declaration. Overdoses and neonatal abstinence syndrome are now reportable conditions to the health department, giving them better data on where non-fatal overdoses are taking place to send resources.

"They are disease,s they are not a moral failing and this disease in Pennsylvania has reached this epidemic proportion," said Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania's acting secretary of health and physician general. "It is a public health emergency. It is the worst public health crisis that we have faced in Pennsylvania."

Several regulations will also be waived that officials say will expand access to treatment.

There are also some expansions of data sharing like the prescription drug monitoring program that they say will make sure doctors and patients are in compliance.

"What this declaration does is allows us to bring even more energy and more drive behind all of those initiatives," said Jennifer Smith, the state's acting director of drug and alcohol programs.

The declaration is valid for 90 days because that is the maximum allowed under the state Constitution. Administration officials said there has already been discussion about extending it into the future.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 40767

Reported Deaths: 1533
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin13054790
Ramsey5127233
Dakota257094
Stearns248119
Anoka2360111
Nobles16766
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Washington122840
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Todd4022
Sherburne3445
Lyon3322
Freeborn3090
Watonwan2450
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Benton2353
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Nicollet19112
Martin1725
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Traverse60
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Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 34080

Reported Deaths: 742
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk7196182
Woodbury331744
Black Hawk245759
Buena Vista173311
Johnson14058
Linn136683
Dallas136531
Marshall108019
Scott100210
Dubuque91822
Story8515
Pottawattamie80612
Wapello71431
Muscatine68544
Crawford6793
Sioux4970
Tama48229
Wright3971
Louisa36513
Plymouth3455
Webster3454
Jasper33717
Warren3111
Dickinson2953
Cerro Gordo2661
Washington2499
Hamilton1981
Boone1641
Clay1481
Clarke1433
Allamakee1384
Clinton1301
Shelby1200
Mahaska11917
Carroll1101
Poweshiek1108
Bremer1067
Pocahontas1061
Franklin1040
Des Moines1002
Emmet950
Cedar941
Henry933
Hardin890
Cherokee821
Taylor810
Monona780
Marion770
Floyd762
Benton741
Guthrie734
Jones690
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Sac650
Butler642
Buchanan621
Jefferson620
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Iowa611
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Delaware561
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Mills470
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Davis421
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Howard370
Lucas344
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