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

Smallest state has biggest opioid plan

THE TIMES-TRIBUNE | By the Editorial Board | AUGUST 29, 2018

The opioid addiction epidemic continues to wreak havoc in unexpected ways, beyond the death toll of 72,000 in 2017.

In West Virginia, for example, public health authorities blame addiction for more than 1,000 new cases of acute hepatitis-A viral infections since March; the disease had been diminished by 95 percent nationally since the creation of a vaccine in 1996.

Opioid Awareness Day brings large crowd to Kirby Park

THE CITIZEN’S VOICE | BY ERIC MARK | AUGUST 27, 2018

WILKES-BARRE — Opioid Awareness Day in Kirby Park on Sunday featured a message of hope mixed with warning about the dangers of the opioid epidemic that continues to plague the region and the nation.

Herbal ‘opioid’ Kratom kills 2 in Pa.

PENN LIVE | BY JOHN LUCIEW | AUGUST 24, 2018

Police in Chester County, Pa., are sounding the alarm after two men died taking the legal supplement Kratom, known as the herbal opioid.

NBC-10 in Philly reports the two victims of the accidental kratom overdoses as Caleb Jonathan Sturgis of West Bradford Township and Ryan Jones of Caln Township.

Opioid epidemic continues to drive record overdoses statewide

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE | BY RICH LORD | AUGUST 22, 2018

Pennsylvania last year continued to break records for fatal overdoses, with drug deaths reaching a level that almost doubled the 2014 figure, due largely to fentanyl and heroin, according to data released by the Drug Enforcement Administration late Tuesday.

STOP Act will prevent opioid smuggling

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE | BY PAUL STEIDLER | AUGUST 21, 2018

One answer to your Aug. 16 editorial “Where Is The help? Opioids Have Taken A Huge Toll On Pennsylvania” is for Washington to enact commonsense legislation that will reduce the inflow of opioids from China.

Epidemic has life of its own

CITIZENS’ VOICE | THE EDITORIAL BOARD | AUGUST 21, 2018

Startling new statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention demonstrate that the opioid addiction epidemic will be even harder to stop than experts originally predicted. Due to the nature of addiction and market forces, the epidemic has assumed a life of its own.

Overdoses continue to soar, but central Pa. coroner believes progress finally showing

PENNLIVE | BY DAVID WENNER | AUGUST 18, 2018

In York County, the fatal overdose trend is still going in the wrong direction, with coroner Pam Gay counting about 25 more deaths than at this time last year.

Epidemic haslife of its own

STANDARD-SPEAKER | OPINION | AUGUST 18, 2018 Startling new statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention demonstrate that the opioid addiction epidemic will be even harder to stop than experts originally predicted. Due to the nature of addiction and...

Vivitrol program meets goals after one year

OBSERVER-REPORTER | BY KATIE ANDERSON | AUGUST 17, 2018

One year after the Vivitrol Plus program began at the Washington County jail, 54 people have participated and not one of them has died from an overdose, according to Erich Curnow, director of clinical and case management services with the county’s Drug and Alcohol Commission.

Panel sees trend from heroin to crack

ALTOONA MIRROR | BY SEAN SAURO | AUGUST 16, 2018

EBENSBURG — A trend away from heroin and toward crack cocaine might be part of the reason Cambria County’s overdose death rate has decreased, panelists at a public hearing were told Wednesday.

%

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

%

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

%

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

%

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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