HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Citing sobering statistics during a rare joint address to both the House and Senate on Wednesday, Governor Tom Wolf urged lawmakers to take immediate action on the state’s opioid and heroin crisis.
“In the past year alone, we lost over 3,500 Pennsylvanians,” Wolf said. “(That’s) a thousand more lives taken than the year before.”
Wolf is pushing for immediate action on bills he hopes will slow the epidemic. The legislation includes more checks on pain pill prescribers. Wolf also wants to limit prescriptions of opioids to one week’s worth of pills for minors and fund more education on the dangers of opioid abuse.
“The opioid epidemic did not start overnight and we will not fix it overnight,” Wolf said. “By acting on these bills and putting other ideas on the table, we can continue to stem the tide of opioid abuse.”
Lawmakers only have a few voting days left in the session.
Legislation appears to have support from both Democrats and Republicans.
Some, like Pennsylvania state Senator Scott Wagner (R-York), worry the problem will take time to solve.
“This is an epidemic,” Wagner said. “It’s going to get worse before it gets better.”
“The legislative process can be tedious at times,” state Representative Kevin Schreiber (D-York) said. “That’s for good measure, but I think what’s important is here highlighting those bills that have bipartisan support that in some case have passed the House and Senate.”