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PA-BGT: Wolf Asks for $34M to Fight Heroin, Opioid Abuse

Wolf-MarijuanaAs lawmakers work to strike deals before the budget deadline, Gov. Tom Wolf is calling on legislators to approve $34 million to build 50 heroin and opioid abuse treatment centers.

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.”

3 Responses

  1. Legalize heroin so the addicts can get their supply and clean needles at government dispensaries. This would take the criminal element out of the street sales, provide a pure product, unadulterated by fentanyl or other potent additives and provide addicts with clean, sterile works that will help stop the spread of Hep C and AIDS.
    Portugal legalized all street drugs and addiction rates actually declined. The desperate search for money to feed their addiction causes addicts to end up in the criminal justice system and it is cheaper to treat this as a health problem rather than a criminal justice problem.
    Spend this money now and get Federal matching funds and address this epidemic for what it is.
    Interesting to note also, that, the US has been in Afghanistan since 2002 and instead of wiping out the opium crom when we had a chance to, the opium trade is now flourishing with record crops and tons of heroin making it’s way to the US despite custom, border patrol and the other agencies charged with protecting the borders. Perhaps it is US servicemen bringing this product over, in much the same way they brought tons of drugs [ie;Thai Stick, HQ weed and opium derivatives] when transiting back to the US. A highly lucrative business earning them hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s called American enterprise and ingenuity!

  2. How about less town halls and more real action, like sue the pants off these companies that caused the crisis. These companies lied and now people are dying from their products. If my car ignition caught on fire and killed my family I could sue the car maker … why not sue these drug companies (dealers). I’m sick of this B/S … we need to get serious and change behavior of these companies.

  3. We need all the help that we can get. As stated, it is now an epidemic that is reaching all socio-economic levels. It does not matter how educated an individual is, what their upbringing was, or what their ambitions are, once they are addicted it is hard to break the cycle. Even more heart breaking, is when they want help and there are no beds available to get them the help they want. Hopefully, the funding will come through and more beds will become available. Time is an issue. It can not be held up. Too many lives have already been lost.

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