Wolf’s New Heroin Overdose Antidote Plan: “A Prescription for All Pennsylvanians”

tom-wolfHARRISBURG, Pa. – Governor Tom Wolf continued his “Government That Works” Tour by announcing what his administration calls a significant step forward in the fight against the heroin epidemic in Pennsylvania.

Governor Wolf stood with Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine at the Pennsylvania Medical Society as Dr. Levine signed a statewide standing order for naloxone, a medication that can reverse an overdose that is caused by an opioid drug. The governor was also joined by Secretary Ted Dallas, Secretary Gary Tennis, Secretary Karen Murphy, and Chairman Josh Shapiro.

“This standing order is the next step in my administration’s fight against the addiction and overdose epidemic in our state,” said Governor Wolf. “We must do all that we can to support those Pennsylvania families suffering from the effects of addiction. I am proud to take this action with my cabinet members today.”

Through the signing of this standing order, Dr. Levine has signed “a prescription for naloxone to all Pennsylvanians,” according to the Wolf administration.

“Making it possible for all Pennsylvania residents to access the life-saving drug naloxone is a huge victory in our battle against drug overdose deaths in the commonwealth,” said Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine. “I am proud to sign this standing order and continue the efforts of the Wolf Administration to protect the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians. This forward-thinking initiative gives people the tools they need to keep their communities and families intact.”

The rise in heroin addiction and prescription drug abuse has quickly led to a public health crisis in Pennsylvania, where 1 in 4 families suffer from the effects of substance abuse addiction. Heroin and opioid overdose are now the leading cause of accidental death in Pennsylvania, killing more individuals than those involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents. In 2014, 2,400 Pennsylvanians died from drug overdoses.

“Addiction can happen to anyone from any walk of life, and heroin is now the second leading cause of years of life lost,” said Department of Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas. “I am not going to accept that. We must fight to ensure our children, our loved ones, and our neighbors have access to these critical life-saving programs.”

“Too many Pennsylvania families are being affected by this crisis,” said Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Gary Tennis. “In addition to finding solutions like these to save lives, we are also working hard to raise awareness and break down stigmas about substance abuse disorders. My department will continue to work tirelessly to provide the best possible recovery and treatment options, to ensure that we do not see high rates of overdose recurrences.”

Governor Wolf’s 2015-16 budget proposes $7.5 million in funds to provide more naloxone to police and to provide more treatment options for Pennsylvanians.

“My administration, law enforcement agencies, those in the health care field, those in county services offices, and many others work hard every day to fight back against heroin epidemic,” concluded Governor Wolf. “My greatest hope is that today’s action will continue to aid these statewide efforts to overcome the addiction and overdose crisis in Pennsylvania.”


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