Wolf Administration Continues to Address Opioid Crisis, Unveils Opioid Data Dashboard to Provide Data to Public

HARRISBURG, Pa. (EYT) – Governor Tom Wolf yesterday continued his administration’s fight against the opioid epidemic by unveiling an opioid data dashboard that provides Pennsylvanians battling the epidemic with an innovative new tool to help focus resources locally.

“Access to this data will allow our Opioid Operational Command Center, local officials and all those involved in battling the opioid crisis to look at where our efforts are needed most,” Governor Wolf said. “This information is vital as we all work together to help our loved ones, our neighbors and our communities who continue to be devastated by this crisis.”

The opioid data dashboard focuses on data sets in the three main areas distinguished by Governor Wolf in his disaster declaration: prevention, rescue, and treatment. It also shows data at the county-level.

“This information allows us to look at the areas where the opioid crisis is doing the most damage,” Acting Health Secretary and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Through this data, we can see where prevention is needed, where rescue can be improved and where treatment is necessary to help those communities that have been affected the most by the opioid epidemic.”

On January 10, Governor Wolf signed a statewide disaster declaration for the opioid epidemic to enhance state response, increase access to treatment, and save lives.

The disaster declaration focuses on 13 initiatives, all of which have been implemented or are nearing completed implementation:

  • Establishes an Opioid Operational Command Center located at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency;
  • Expands access to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) to other Commonwealth entities for clinical decision-making purposes;
  • Adds overdoses and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) as Reportable Conditions in Title 28, Chapter 27;
  • Authorizes an emergency purchase under the procurement code for the 24/7 helpline, 1-800-662-HELP;
  • Enables Emergency Medical Services providers to leave behind naloxone by amending the current Standing Order;
  • Waives regulations to allow pharmacists to give greater access to naloxone to prisons and treatment programs;
  • Allows for the immediate temporary rescheduling of all fentanyl derivatives to align with the federal DEA schedule while working toward permanent rescheduling;
  • Authorizes emergency purchasing to allow for an emergency contract to expand the advanced body scanner pilot program currently in place at Wernersville that is used on re-entrants returning to the facility;
  • Waives the face-to-face physician requirement for Narcotic Treatment Program (NTP) to allow initial intake review by a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner (CRNP) or Physician Assistant (PA);
  • Expands access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) by waiving the regulatory provision to permit dosing at satellite facilities;
  • Waives annual licensing requirements for high-performing drug and alcohol treatment facilities;
  • Waives the fee provided for in statute for birth certificates for individuals who request a good-cause waiver by attesting that they are affected by Opioid Use Disorder; and
  • Waives separate licensing requirements for hospitals and emergency departments to expand access to drug and alcohol treatment to allow physicians to administer short-term MAT consistent with DEA regulations without requiring separate notice to DDAP.

Governor Wolf and state agencies have been increasing efforts in the fight against prescription drug abuse in multiple areas, including numerous programs and initiatives:

  • Working with the legislature to establish a new law limiting the number of opioids that can be prescribed to a minor and to individuals discharged from emergency rooms to seven days;
  • Strengthening the PDMP through the legislative process so that doctors are required and able to check the system each time they prescribe opioids and benzodiazepines;
  • Forming new prescribing guidelines to help doctors who provide opioid prescriptions to their patients, including guidelines specific to orthopedics and sports medicine;
  • Creating the warm handoff guideline to facilitate referrals from the emergency department to substance abuse treatment;
  • Teaming with the legislature to establish education curriculum on safe prescribing for medical schools; and
  • Awarding four $1 million grants for medication-assisted treatment using a hub and spoke model for Pennsylvanians who are uninsured, under-insured or have private insurance.

For more information on the state’s efforts to battle the opioid epidemic and to view the dashboard, visit https://www.pa.gov/guides/opioid-epidemic/ or follow us on Facebookand Twitter.

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