PA Gov. Tom Wolf Declares Disaster Emergency for Opioid Crisis in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has declared a state-wide disaster emergency to combat the Opioid and Heroin epidemic. Mr. Wolf stated that Pennsylvania has the fourth-highest overdose death rate in the United States with preliminary data showing 5,260 people died from drug overdoses in 2017. (the highest tally ever recorded and a nearly 15-percent jump over the previous year).
This newly enacted declaration waives a state requirement that a doctor must have a face-to-face interaction with a person before admitting them into a treatment program. Moreover, hospitals would not be required to get a separate license to offer treatment, either.
According to Jennifer Smith, secretary of the state Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, she states “The declaration enables us to waive requirements on a broad basis without the need for those providers to submit specific requests to us.”
In addition, an Opioid Operation Command Center will launch within the state’s emergency management agency and be staffed by employees of nine state departments including health, state police, and others.