Wolf wants to build 50 Centers of Excellence across the state, opening access to treatment for more than 11,000 people currently without access.
If the General Assembly approves the $34 million, the Wolf administration said it will be able to bring in an additional $18 million in federal funding for the construction project.
Wolf has made fighting opioid abuse and overdoses one of his top priorities, hosting 24 roundtable meetings with Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine, Dept. of Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Gary Tennis and other administration officials to try to understand and highlight the problem and call for increased funding.
“Through these roundtables, Gov. Wolf has learned that every single community throughout the Commonwealth is struggling to wrap their arms around the depth of this epidemic, and that treatment services are scarce and often difficult to navigate,” Wolf spokesman Jeff Sheridan wrote in a press release. “The Wolf Administration sees enormous value in expanding access to all levels of treatment, including long-term residential, outpatient and Medication Assisted Treatment.”
Heroin and opioid overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death in Pennsylvania, killing almost 2,500 people in 2014, according to the release.
Last week, Wolf gathered top administration and PA law enforcement officials to mark a milestone in their fight against heroin and opioid abuse. Since April 2015, more than 1,000 lives have been saved in the Keystone State with the use of Naloxone, a prescription overdose reversal drug now available to all Pennsylvanians.
“Pennsylvania must address this crisis like the public health epidemic that it is,” Sheridan said. “It is vital that we combine efforts on the federal, state and local levels to fight back against drug abuse and prevent the deaths of thousands of more Pennsylvanians.”