Costa Introduces Legislation to Support Families Affected by Opioid Epidemic

Harrisburg – February 16, 2017 – Committed to the fight against opioid addiction, State Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) today introduced legislation that would provide support to families seeking emergency treatment for loved ones.

“Families are suffering – it’s as simple as that,” Costa said. “They desperately are seeking emergency treatment options for their loved ones but without their consent, have no opportunity to provide the help they need.”

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Governor Wolf Signs Bills to Battle Heroin and Opioid Crisis

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Wolf signed legislation to battle Pennsylvania’s heroin and opioid epidemic. This legislation will strengthen the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, restrict the number of pills that can be prescribed to minors or in emergency rooms, establish education curriculum on safe prescribing, and create more locations for the drop-off of prescription drugs.

 

“I am proud to sign a package of bills that represents the work that we have all done together to address the heroin and opioid abuse crisis, and begins to curb the effects of this public health epidemic in Pennsylvania,” said Governor Tom Wolf.

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Governor Wolf’s Address to Joint Session on Battling the Opioid Epidemic

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Wolf addressed a Joint Session of the General Assembly to outline our collective plan to lead the nation in combatting the opioid and heroin crisis facing Pennsylvania.

 

“We have shown that we can work together to make Pennsylvania the great place we know it can be. It is now time to do so again and give the people of Pennsylvania a reason to believe in their leaders,” said Governor Wolf.

Watch Governor Wolf's Remarks

Capitol Rally to Focus on Fight Against Opioid Abuse

September 20, 2016 – Members of the Legislative Heroin, Opioid, Prevention and Education (HOPE) Caucus, along with Gov. Tom Wolf, Lt. Gov. Mike Stack, administration officials, advocates and families participated at a rally on Tuesday, Sept. 20 in the main Capitol Rotunda for continued funding and support to combat the growing opioid epidemic.
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Pennsylvania Selected to Participate in National Governors Association Learning Lab on Combating the Opioid Epidemic

Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania was one of seven states to be selected to participate in a National Governors Association (NGA) learning lab designed to combat the opioid epidemic. Last year over 3,500 Pennsylvanians died from drug overdose – that is an astonishing 10 deaths a day and up from the more than 2,500 reported deaths in 2014.
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Governor Wolf Lauds New Prescription Drug Monitoring Program as Important Weapon in Fight Against Pennsylvania’s Opioid Crisis

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced that Pennsylvania’s newly redesigned Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) is fully operational and will serve as an important tool to help curb the prescription opioid and heroin public health crisis in the commonwealth.

 

“More than 3,500 Pennsylvanians died last year from drug overdose – that’s an astonishing ten deaths each day,” said Governor Wolf.

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A WEEK OF OVERDOSES: A YEAR OF STRUGGLE, PAIN AND REDEMPTION

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE | BY J. Brady McCollough | 08.14.16

 

Jessica Neal walks through the doors of her old high school gym wearing a black “Fight Against Heroin” T-shirt. She tries to calm her nerves. Eight years is a long time to be away.

“I get goosebumps being back in here,” she says.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Amid Opioid Epidemic, Paramedics Feel the Weight of Tragedy

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE | BY SHELLY BRADBURY | 5.20.17 PITTSBURGH (AP) — The call came in at dinnertime: an 11-year-old girl, not breathing. Pittsburgh paramedics with Medic 8 supposed the girl was choking on her food as they raced to the address in Beechview. But...
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Philadelphia to Mull Safe Injection Sites in Opioid Fight

ASSOCIATED PRESS | BY KRISTEN DE GROOT | 5.19.17 PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A task force charged with outlining ways for Philadelphia to combat its opioid epidemic has recommended the city consider allowing safe sites, where drug users could inject heroin. Gov. Tom Wolf was...
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Behind The Headlines: Pennsylvania’s Opioid Epidemic Up Close

WPSU PENN STATE | BY JESSICA KOURKOUNIS | 5.18.17 With an increasing number of opioid overdoses in Pennsylvania, attention from state and local officials is growing as well as public attention around the issue. In 2015, there were more than 3,500 drug related overdose...
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Casey bill would aid grandparents raising grandkids amid opioid epidemic

DAILY ITEM | BY ERIC SCICCHITANO | 5.13.17 Legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate aims to form a plan to help grandparents raising grandchildren, a trend on the rise amid the ongoing nationwide opioid and heroin epidemic. Introduced by Pennsylvania Democrat Bob...
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Federal official discusses tackling growing opioid epidemic

OBSERVER REPORTER | BY DAWN GOODMAN | 5.12.17 The next step to fighting the opioid addiction exploding through Southwestern Pennsylvania is civic involvement, an assistant U.S. Attorney from Pittsburgh told a crowd gathered Wednesday night in Upper St. Clair to...
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Experts at Pennsylvania conference say cannabis can help fight opioid epidemic

DAILY TIMES | BY ERIC DEVLIN | 5.8.17 PITTSBURGH >> As the opioid epidemic continues to decimate communities here at home and across the country, experts at the first-ever World Medical Cannabis Conference and Expo in Pittsburgh recently looked at what role medical...
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Pennsylvania receives $26.5M grant to combat opioid epidemic

6 WJAC | BY MATTHEW STEVENS | 4.24.17 HARRISBURG - Gov. Tom Wolf announced Monday that Pennsylvania has received a $26.5 million federal grant to fight the opioid epidemic. "The scourge that is the heroin and opioid abuse must be attacked and this significant influx...
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Pa. House expands addiction measures

ALTOONA MIRROR | BY CARLEY MOSSBROOK | 4.21.17 Lawmakers say they hope legislation will increase constituents’ treatment options HARRISBURG — As the opioid and heroin crisis continues across the commonwealth, House Health Committee members on Wednesday unanimously...
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Pa.’s high overdose rate gets it one of the biggest U.S. grants to fight opioids

PENNLIVE | BY DAVID WENNER | 4.20.17 Pennsylvania will receive $26.5 million toward fighting addiction to heroin and painkillers -- the fourth-highest grant in a new federal effort to address the overdose crisis. Pennsylvania's grant comes through the 21st Century...
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Drug overdose victims could be forced into mental health facilities under Pa. bill

PENNLIVE | BY CHARLES THOMPSON | 4.20.17 The Pennsylvania House's Health Committee gave a first approval Wednesday to a bill that would recognize drug overdoses as a cause for involuntary mental health commitments. At present, such involuntary commitments are tied to...
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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).

LEARN MORE ABOUT PA HOPE CAUCUS

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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