Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has renewed the opioid disaster declaration for the 11th time as part of an effort to fight the growing opioid and heroin epidemic in the state.
Wolf’s declaration allows the state to loosen regulations and work outside of typical procedures to get aid to those with opioid use disorder and to provide initiatives to those who treat opioid use disorder.
“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the commonwealth’s Opioid Command Center continues its work to fight another health crisis – the opioid epidemic,” Wolf said. “The work that is enabled by this declaration is vital to saving the lives of so many Pennsylvanians, providing education and treatment, and advancing initiatives across the state to continue to battle this epidemic. This work is no less important during COVID, and I am grateful for all those dedicated professionals who continue the drumbeat of compassionate care and work toward ending this crisis.”
Wolf’s declaration allows multiple agencies across the state to work together and realign their programs using state resources to address the opioid crisis, its causes, and its effects.
The declaration comes just a day after Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Rachel Levine signed and updated standing order for naloxone that would permit community-based organizations to provide naloxone by mail, to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for those seeking the opioid overdose-reversing drug, and those who work in pharmacies. A previous standing order in 2018 allowed pharmacies to provide naloxone to any Pennsylvanian at low or no cost.
“The opioid crisis continues for those with the disease of addiction, our communities, and our state,” Levine said. “Renewing the disaster declaration allows us to continue our efforts to ensure that we are helping those in need. Recovery works, and treatment is possible for those with this disease.”