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On April 28, 2018 at 10:00 AM

Governor Wolf Announces Progress, Renewal of Opioid Disaster Declaration

Harrisburg, PA — Governor Tom Wolf today announced the renewal of his 90-day opioid disaster declaration, which was introduced in January and set to expire on April 10. The renewal allows for the 13 initiatives introduced in the past 90 days to continue without interruption and for the introduction of new initiatives to help those suffering from opioid use disorder (OUD).

Senator Daylin Leach Holds a Opioid Crisis Forum

On Wednesday, October 25, 2017, State Senator Daylin Leach joined about 30 local residents, community leaders, and experts in substance abuse treatment for his Opioid Crisis Forum at the Upper Merion Township Building in Montgomery County.

Drug addiction is a public health problem and a medical problem, not a criminal justice problem, and it touches all of us,” Leach said. “In our daily lives and in our public policy we should focus on curing the underlying causes of drug addiction instead of treating people who suffer from addiction like criminals.”

Governor Wolf Announces $5 Million Funding for Naloxone to First Responders

Harrisburg, Pa. – Governor Wolf today announced that the $5 million included in the 2017-18 budget to provide naloxone to first responders in Pennsylvania is now available. Details of the application process and benefits of naloxone will be provided at a press conference at 2 p.m. today in the Capitol Reception Room with representatives of the departments of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), Health (DOH), and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD).

OVERDOSED: HOW DOCTORS WROTE THE SCRIPT FOR AN EPIDEMIC

Special Report | May 22, 2016
Reporting by Rich Lord, J. Brady McCollough and Adam Smeltz

Dr. Gary A. Shearer continued to prescribe painkillers, even as 14 of his patients died of drug overdoses, according to Kentucky investigators.

Maryland psychiatrist Patricia A. Newton kept prescribing to a struggling addict, according to a judge’s account in a dispute over her license, until that patient turned up, unconscious, in a Maryland hospital bathroom with a syringe and 545 pills.

GET HELP NOW - 1-800-662-4357 (HELP)

The PA Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs has established a hotline for individuals and/or their loved ones who are seeking drug and alcohol treatment services. If you need assistance in finding a treatment provider or funding for addiction treatment, please call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or contact your local county drug and alcohol office.

Latest News

Fentanyl driving opioid crisis in Berks, nearby counties

THE READING EAGLE | BY FORD TURNER | 04.25.2018

The drug overdose crisis in the seven-county region centered on Berks took 938 lives in 2017, an increase of about 11 percent from the previous year that was fueled by abuse of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid once used primarily to treat chronic or cancer-related pain.

In Opioid Epidemic, Some Cities Strain to Afford OD Antidote

STANDARD SPEAKER | 04.12.2018

BALTIMORE (AP) — On a Baltimore street corner, public health workers hand out a life-saving overdose antidote to residents painfully familiar with the ravages of America’s opioid epidemic. But the training wraps up quickly; all the naloxone inhalers are claimed within 20 minutes.

Burlco pharmacist gets prison for oxycodone prescription fraud

THE INQUIRER | 04.12.2018

A 46-year-old Burlington County pharmacist was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in federal prison for illegally distributing oxycodone for five years from two pharmacies he owned in Medford, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.

‘Formulary’ plan prompts deadlock; bill tackles prescriptions for injured workers

THE TRIBUNE-DEMOCRAT | 04.06.2018

A Pennsylvania Senate Bill proposes creating state-sanctioned prescription guidelines for workers injured on the job, a move its supporters say will cut down on the amount of opioids prescribed to them.

SRO crowd in Kensington divided on injection site plan, united on need for city action

WHYY | 05.06.2018 As the debate continues to intensify over Philadelphia’s proposal for a supervised injection facility in Philadelphia, a standing-room-only crowd packed a Kensington community center gym Wednesday night to tell Philadelphia City Council members how...

Opioid addiction costs employers $2.6B a year for care

THE PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE | 04.5.2018

A new report shows large employers spent $2.6 billion to treat opioid addiction and overdoses in 2016, an eight-fold increase since 2004. More than half went to treat employees’ children.

The analysis released Thursday by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation finds such spending cost companies and workers about $26 per enrollee in 2016.

Groups raising funds for Narcan training

THE CITIZENS' VOICE | 05.04.2018 WILKES-BARRE — Local community groups are organizing a basketball tournament to help raise money for Narcan training and drug recovery efforts in Luzerne County. Erik Coolbaugh Foundation and United We Stand, Divided We Fall are...

Governor Wolf Announces Progress, Renewal of Opioid Disaster Declaration

Harrisburg, PA — Governor Tom Wolf today announced the renewal of his 90-day opioid disaster declaration, which was introduced in January and set to expire on April 10. The renewal allows for the 13 initiatives introduced in the past 90 days to continue without...

Pharmacists, EMS using resource cards to help overdose victims

THE CITIZENS’ VOICE | 04.03.2018

Prescription opioid drugs don’t come with a warning label.

They also don’t include a list of local resources if patients find themselves hooked on the highly addictive medicine or worse, face a fatal overdose.

Toddler died from drug overdose after parents left her alone for 22 hours: court records

PENNLIVE | 05.05.2018 GREENCASTLE --At 3 years old, Logan Starliper may be the youngest victim of an illegal drug overdose in Central Pennsylvania in recent history. She's certainly the youngest in Franklin County, according to coroner Jeff Conner.

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14.1% OF STUDENTS BELIEVED THERE WAS LITTLE-TO-NO RISK IN USING PRESCRIPTION DRUGS NOT PRESCRIBED TO THEM

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24.3% OF STUDENTS SAID IT WOULD BE "SORT OF EASY" OR VERY EASY" TO GET PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

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AN ESTIMATED 70% - 80% OF PENNSYLVANIA'S CRIMINAL OFFENDERS HAVE SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROBLEMS

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ABOUT 80% OF INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE PROGRESSED TO HEROIN ORIGINALLY USED PRESCRIPTION PAIN MEDICATIONS

THE SCOPE OF THE CRISIS

In 2014, according to the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), approximately 2,500 Pennsylvanians died from overdose of opioid drugs. The victims came from every corner of the state. According to the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4), opioid overuse and abuse cost the Commonwealth more than $12.2 million in hospitalization costs annually as of 2012.

There is broad consensus the opioid issue affects all groups of Pennsylvanians – not differentiating by race, region, religion, income or any other factor. Beyond the public health toll, opioids are straining prisons (70 to 80 percent of all jail sentences) and are costly (nationwide, more than $50 billion annually in treatment and lost productivity).

WHAT ARE OPIOIDS?

Opioids are a class of drugs derived from or pharmacologically similar to opiates. While these analgesics are the most effective pharmaceuticals for killing pain, they carry with them a significant risk of addiction. Some data suggest that 60 percent of prescription opioid deaths occur in patients with no history of substance abuse and who are only prescribed an opioid by one health care practitioner.

WHAT IS HEROIN?

Heroin is an opioid pain killer. It is also used less commonly as a cough suppressant and as an antidiarrhoeal. Heroin is used as a recreational drug for its euphoric effects. Frequent and regular administration is associated with tolerance and physical dependence. In some countries it is also given to long-term users as a form of opioid replacement therapy alongside counseling.

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